It’s not too soon to begin thinking about Halloween and our dogs. Halloween can be fun for trick-or-treaters but a nightmare for your dog. Think about it …the doorbell constantly ringing, scary people showing up, excessive yelling and screaming, and odd clothing that covers a stranger’s eyes or head all can be very disconcerting to dogs, and even more so when experienced together on the same night. Here are some tips to keep your dog safe.
- Bring your dog indoors where he can’t be overwhelmed by ghouls and goblins. Pranksters love to tease dogs, or even be cruel to them, so protect your dog by putting him in a safe place.
- Keep him away from the front door to limit his excitement and prevent him from running outside and getting lost and injured. It might be best to put him in a separate room. If you allow your dog at the front door, keep him restrained on a leash. A dog’s behavior when he sees children in masks is very unpredictable. A very gentle dog can become aggressive when fearful, resulting in possible bites. Also, a restrained dog cannot run out the front door and become lost in the neighborhood
- Check his ID tag to make sure it is secure on his collar – just in case.
- Keep candy away as chocolate and artificial sweeteners can be toxic to our dog. Make certain that sweets, including candy wrappers, are all kept well away from your dog.
- Keep candles and lighted pumpkins out of your dog’s reach. When excited or agitated, it’s easy for a dog to accidently knock over a lit candle.
- Don’t make your dog wear a costumer if he doesn’t like it. Some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, but many don’t. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine – he’ll most likely enjoy himself. However, if he shows any resistance, don’t do it. There is enough stress for dogs around Halloween without adding the discomfort and peculiarity of wearing a strange costume.
- Finally, if you want your dog to be involved in Halloween festivities, think about his safety much as you would a small child. Your dog does not understand Halloween, so he needs you to provide for protection. Keep a firm grip on his leash if he is accompanying you trick or treating. Dogs don’t understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you.
Vicki and Richard Horowitz, of Woodbridge, are dog behavioral therapists and trainers with Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog training company. For more information, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visit www.dog-training-new-haven-ct.com