Halloween can be a tricky time for dogs, with lots of knocking at the door and interesting costumes to confuse and unsettle them. Luckily we’ve compiled our 6 best tips for an evening full of treats, no tricks…
1. Pre ‘trick-or-treat’ walkies
Take your dog for a good walk before dark to avoid bumping into too many costumes which may confuse or upset them. Having plenty of exercise during the day will also increase the likelihood of them remaining calm throughout the evening.
2. Distract from the door
Halloween means a steady stream of doorbell rings and knocks. If your dog usually barks when someone pays you a visit then consider a few distractions to keep their mind elsewhere:
- Put on the Radio or TV to mask some of the noise from outside
- Use a baby gate to keep them away from the door
- Do a trial run where you ring your door bell and if/when your dog remains calm, you can reward them with a tasty treat. If they remain stressed with the doorbell ringing frequently, you could consider removing it or switching it off for Halloween.
- Put their dinner in a Kong to be given to them at key ‘trick or treat’ time or give them a chew.
3. Get costume comfortable
Masks and painted faces hide facial expressions and make the wearers look strange and different which can cause dogs to become nervous. Here’s a few things we can do in advance to help them cope on the night:
- If people in your household are dressing up for Halloween, encourage your dog or puppy to smell and investigate the costumes.
- Put any masks on in front of them and turn the fact that you look strange into a nice experience by giving them a few treats.
- Ask children or adults that are visiting not to stand over your dog or suddenly approach them as this can be intimidating and potentially stressful.
4. Take charge of your treats
It’s hugely important to keep chocolate, sweets and their wrappers well away from your dog as many sweets, especially those containing chocolate or xylitol (an artificial sweetener), are toxic to them.
Consider having a pot of dog treats by the door and if/when your dog does say hello to visitors nicely and happily, you could ask your Halloween visitors to give them a dog treat, if they’re comfortable doing that.
5. Only dress them in their collar
Ensure that your pups and dogs are wearing an ID tag while in the house, because if your dog suddenly escapes it’s important that they can be safely returned to you as quickly as possible.
Not only do most dogs not enjoy wearing costumes but they can be dangerous around candles and can make them feel anxious. Consider getting a Halloween-style collar and lead if you want to get them involved with the fancy dress.
6. Light up pumpkins with battery-powered alternatives
Candles in pumpkins and around the home can be dangerous around wagging tails, so swap them for battery powered ones to reduce the risk of burning your pup.
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