Halloween Pet Etiquette: Trick-or-Treating With Your Dog
Don’t let you pet miss out on the Halloween fun! With these pet etiquette tips, your dog can enjoy trick-or-treating with you and the family.
Halloween is a perfect holiday for the whole family. What better an excuse to dress up, eat candy, and have a little ghoulish fun!? If you’re thinking of including your dog in the spooky festivities this year, and want them to have a fun and safe time, there are a few pet trick-or-treat best practices you should keep in mind. Get those costumes ready!
Plan your Route
Your trick-or-treat route should be long enough for everyone to have fun, but short enough that you don’t exhaust your kids or your dog. Maybe consider a “figure-8” with home at the center. That way, if your dog gets tired after the first loop, you can drop him or her off at home before heading out on the second.
Encounters with Kids and Other Pets
It’s important to know your dog’s personality and degree of socialization—both with children and with other animals. A dog with a history of aggression toward kids or other pets should not be taken trick-or-treating. You are the best judge of your dog’s demeanor, so make smart choices!
Even friendly outgoing dogs can become scared or anxious, especially if you are knocking on strangers’ doors. Your hosts might have a dog that’s not thrilled to find a strange animal—even one dressed as Buzz Lightyear—on his porch. So be respectful, and if necessary, wait with your pet at the curb, while your kids collect their sweets.
Bring the Necessities
Even when dressed as a pirate, your dog is still a dog. So, whether you’re planning an extended evening of door-knocking or just hitting a few houses in the neighborhood, be sure to bring water for your pooch (a bottle with a sports top is usually sufficient). Candy should not be given to dogs and chocolate can be dangerous for them, so bring along some dog treatsfor your pup to have a yummy snack. Since typically a walk means, “time to do your business,” for dogs, don’t forget the poop bags.
When choosing a Halloween costume for your pet, be sure to get the right size. A costume that's too small can be uncomfortable and unsafe. Your pooch should be able to breathe and see easily, he should have full mobility of all his limbs, and the costume should be able to accommodate potty breaks. Also, it should be reflective to be visible to cars. You should keep your pet leashed at all times, but if he or she should slip their collar, you want drivers to be able to see her.
Don't forget, there are a few definite Halloween "don’ts" for dogs. They cannot safely metabolize chocolate or licorice - and other candies, while not necessarily toxic, aren’t healthy for them either. Be sure your pet doesn’t have access to the sweets you plan to hand out or the ones you bring home. A DIY dog treat or chew toy should resolve any FOMO (fear of missing out) that your pup might experience.
We hope these tips will help you, your family, and your dog have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween!
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.