While costumes are enjoyable for us, most dogs do not enjoy wearing them. Aside from them being hot and uncomfortable, costumes can hide your dog's body language making it much harder to read if your dog is stressed. This can easily turn into a dog bite that could have been prevented. Instead, choose a festive new collar or bandanna for your dog to show off.
Trick or treaters can be scary for shy or reactive dogs, but some costumes can scare even the most confident of dogs! To keep your dog safe from darting out the door, you can place a barrier such as a baby gate just inside the entry point. That way you can safely hand out candy without worrying about your dog darting out through the door. If you are hosting a party and guests will be entering your home, it's best to make a safe spot for your dog in another room of the house. You can give your dog stuffed Kongs and other food puzzles to keep him or her comfortable and occupied while guests arrive. If you think it is safe for your dog to interact with your guests, do so when your guests are seated and your dog is relaxed. If your dog doesn't remove himself from the situation when it becomes too chaotic, it's a good idea to encourage your dog to go back to the safe spot you created in another room. This way your dog can take breaks so the stress of the festivities doesn't build and become too much for your dog to handle.
While the treats we enjoy might be something our dogs want to sample as well, candies and other human treats can be hazardous to our dog's health. Some candies contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. Even small amounts can be fatal to dogs if ingested. In addition, candy wrappers can wreak havoc on your dog's digestive system so keep candy, chocolate, and other human delicacies out of your dog's reach. Instead, keep your dog's favorite treats stashed around the house and treat for good behavior or ask your dog to perform a trick for a treat. Keeping treats handy will be very helpful if your dog does get a hold of something dangerous because you can trade him or her for the dangerous item if s/he doesn't know the "leave it" or "drop it" cues. Trying to grab something out of a dog's mouth can cause the dog to try to quickly swallow the item or become aggressive protecting it. Alternatively, toss several of the dog's favorite treats on the floor close to the dog so they will drop what's in their mouth to eat the treats
Following these simple tips will help both you and your pet have an enjoyable and stress free day.