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Like many holidays, Halloween is great fun for humans but can be stressful and even dangerous for your dogs. Combine strange costumes, pranksters, and lots of chocolate candy and you have a potentially frightening situation for your furry friends. Here are some tips for keeping your dog safe this Halloween.

doghalloweenConsider a pet-friendly Halloween event.
There are tons of Halloween and fall-themed events around DFW that cater to dogs. These events will feature dog-safe treats, costume contests, parades, and much more. Attend one of the many dog-friendly events listed on the calendar and include your dog in the Halloween fun while keeping him safe.

Dressing up your dog
Some dog owners insist that their pets love to dress up, but a majority of dogs are not comfortable with hats, wigs, and other accessories. If you decide to dress up your dog, be sure the costume does not hamper their sight, hearing or breathing. Make sure your dog can walk easily and monitor him closely to ensure he does not become overheated. And be sure that your pet’s costume allows him to potty. – in both senses of the word. It’s no fun if Fido is walking around in a soiled costume.

Keep your dog separated from the festivities.
While it’s fun to have your dog with you during Halloween celebrations, sometimes it’s best to leave him at home, especially during trick-or-treating. Many pets can become tense during the commotion of loud children, flashing lights, and strange costumes. You also don’t want to approach a home with a resident dog without knowing how they will react to an unfamiliar dog at their door. Also, don’t leave your pets, especially cats, outside during Halloween. “Believe it or not, there are still some people who do bad things to cats or dogs on Halloween night,” says Dr. Mike Escobedo, a veterinarian with Cornerstone Animal Clinic. If possible, keep your pets confined to an area of your home where they won’t be able to dart outside or jump up on children when you answer your door for trick-or-treaters.

Watch your pumpkin!
It’s an often repeated warning, and for good reason: dogs are extremely vulnerable to poisoning around the holidays, so keep all candy away from your dogs. Chocolate can be lethal to dogs if swallowed, so make sure everyone in your household knows NOT to share their Halloween candy with the family dog. If your dog manages to get into your child’s stash of candy, call a local emergency vet or Animal Poison Control (888-426-4435) immediately.

Speaking of pumpkins…
Make sure that your children (and adults!) know that it is unacceptable to purposely frighten a dog or cat, even on Halloween. This is a holiday where everyone is trying their best to be scary, and a dog could mistake a harmless “Boo!” as a real threat and try to protect himself or his family. Don’t put your dog in the position of getting in trouble for being a good watch dog.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!