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Tips for Keeping Dogs Safe on Halloween

Sanchez Great pumpkin

It can be very fun for children to dress up as ghouls and goblins. But, dogs don’t understand the concept and can be very fearful of people wearing masks and costumes. And the huge number of children ringing the doorbell and yelling “Trick or Treat” can cause excessive barking and put many dogs into sensory overload. In my early adult years, I had a small dog with a heart murmur that had a heart attack on Halloween and died. The constant activity was too much for him. If I knew then what I know now, I would have kept him away from the stress of all of the noisy activity and immersed him with canine sound therapy.

Tips for providing a safe canine Halloween:

1. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day.

2. Keep your dogs inside while trick or treaters are out, preferably with human companionship.

3. Provide a safe place inside for your dogs to retreat, away from the front door. If your dog is comfortable in a crate, that is a good option.

4. Keep the curtains and windows closed.

5. Make sure all your dogs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting collar (especially if they have access to the front door).

6. Leave your dog something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats.

7. Add some Canine Sound Therapy: Through a Dog’s Ear available on is specially designed classical music clinically demonstrated to calm canine anxiety issues. Options for listening: Free listening samples, downloads, CDs, iCalmDog.

Gina the Rabbi and Sanchez the Bumblebee
Gina the Rabbi and Sanchez the Bumblebee

Should I Dress My Dog in a Halloween Costume?

While it can be very fun for humans to dress up their dogs, many dogs don’t prefer it, and some hate it. Please don’t force your dog to wear a Halloween costume if they don’t enjoy it. And, certainly, don’t dress your dogs in a costume that restricts their breathing or movement. While Sanchez and Gina don’t love wearing costumes, they are always extremely well paid for doing so. In addition to their favorite treats, when they dressed in costume for my annual student Halloween recital, they also received tons of affection from my piano students, something they absolutely loved.

Do your dogs enjoy wearing costumes? Thanks for sharing your stories and adding any safety tips of your own in a comment below.

Delivering Calm, four paws at a time…

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