TRICK OR TREAT TIPS AND TOO-CUTE COSTUMES!
Dressing up your dog for Halloween sounds like a lot of fun. Just look at those hilarious costumes! But first and foremost, as with anything you do with your dog, you need to know their personality and if they can handle it. Chelsea Murray, certified dog trainer, behavioral specialist and owner of Chambleebased Pawsitive Futures, weighs in on what to keep in mind whether you take them around the neighborhood or if they stay home that night.
A lot of things we find fun about Halloween can be scary for dogs.
Kids with costumes and masks, kids who are running around and screaming, loud noises and flashing lights can all be really stressful for dogs. Even those that are well-socialized may have a limited tolerance. “If too many stressful things happen, and they’re pushed over that tolerance, they could bite,” Murray warns. “Additionally, because a lot of our trick or treating happens when it’s dark out, visibility is not as good, so dogs can be more easily startled.”
Make sure they have exercise and entertainment that day.
Prior to the Halloween festivities, go on a walk to allow them to get some energy out so they aren’t as anxious or reactive. If you choose to leave them at home, give them something to do to distract from doorbells ringing and potential noise outside. “We recommend products such as food puzzles or Kong toys to help keep the dogs calm and occupied. If the dog is comfortable in a crate, they can go inside of the crate in a bedroom,” Murray says.
If your dog is sensitive to noise, turn on classical music.
“This will help drown out external noises of kids’ screaming that might cause stress for your dog, and it promotes relaxation. So while you’re out having fun, the dog can be calm inside,” she says.
Keep tabs on your dog.
Another fun aspect of Halloween is having friends over before or after hitting the streets. Make sure to pay attention where your dog is. “It’s very easy for dogs to slip out the front door while we’re letting friends and family in,” Murray says. What’s more, don’t leave the candy bags within muzzle range. If your buddy got into the chocolate bars, it would require an emergency vet visit—certainly not how you’d like to spend the night.
STORY: Taylor Heard
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