Ask The Dog Trainer, Dog Health, October Pet Calendar

Halloween Pet Safety and Fun

By Robbi Hess ~ Managing Editor Pet Calendar, Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor, Chief Cat Herder 

Will you be dressing your dog this Halloween? Many of us on the Positively Woof team will!

Favorite Halloween dog costumes include:

  • Pumpkin
  • Spider
  • Hot dog
  • Bee
  • Cat
  • Witch
  • Superhero
  • Bowties/fancy collars/bandanas
  • Pirate
  • Dog
  • Ghost

Halloween costumes for pets: It’s become more than a fad, we’re verging on a national trend. This year more than 15% of ALL humans who celebrate Halloween will dress a pet in a costume. Americans are projected to spend $370 million on pet costumes this year, waaaay up from $300 million in 2016.

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog.

Dog Costume Safety
Acclimate your pet to her costume before the big night, but if she keeps biting or scratching to remove it, then don’t force her to wear it. Maybe she doesn’t want to be a pumpkin. Or maybe the costume is constricting, uncomfortable, or gets tangled in her paws or bushes. The costume shouldn’t tempt your dog to chew on it, especially when you take your eyes off her while you focus on kids or candy. Make sure the costume doesn’t get in the way of seeing, breathing or woofing, or could brush against a lit candle. For example, I advise against #10 on the list—ghost—as a sheet can get tangled, caught, catch on fire, restrict seeing and breathing. But maybe your idea of a ghost is different than the classic bed sheet.

Socialization Safety
Halloween is filled with opportunities for success…and disaster. Many dogs get lost on Halloween simply by darting outside when we open our door to greet the next round of trick-or-treaters. Microchip your dog, so that in case she runs (or wanders) off, she can be I.D.’ed even if she slips out of her collar. If you’re taking your dog out on Halloween, make sure that her (and your) walking skills are good before you start. Keep your dog focused on you. If your dog is well-socialized, use Halloween as an opportunity to practice by showing off whatever skills your dog can already do. Don’t try teaching new skills tonight, especially with all the distractions, temptations, and nervous-making sounds, sights, and encounters. For example, if she knows how to sit for dog treats and will already safely take treats from a neighbor, this Halloween can practice that skill. If she can do other tricks for treats, go for it. Our book details the basic behaviors and cues, plus 15 common dog tricks.

Food Safety – Tricks FOR Treats
All that candy? Make it easy: Just assume it’s all toxic and keep your dog off it all. If your dog eats xylitol (a common sugar-free sweetener), go to the vet immediately. Keep the local emergency vet’s phone number handy along with the number for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. So that your dog can have food fun, bring dog treats, and depending on her skill level have her do tricks for treats.

Avoid Noise and Pranks
Loud or sudden sounds scare many dogs. Be ready to move away immediately from any noisy situation if it’s not fun for your dog or shows any of the F-is-for-Fear signs: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Stay away from any two-footed knuckleheads that might see Halloween as a time for pranks or cruelty to animals.

More Articles on Halloween Pet Safety
ASPCA Halloween Pet Safety Tips
Halo’s Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Have a positively Howl-o-weenie with your dog. Good human!

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