Halloween is one of the best fun holidays and also marks the real beginning of the colder months of the year and the run-up to Christmas, so for many of us, is one of our favourite celebrations.
Whether you have children or not, lots of us like to get involved in all manner of Halloween festivities and attend parties, dress up, and tuck into all of the sweets and treats many people make or buy for trick or treaters – and ourselves!
Celebrating Halloween can be great fun, and often very exciting for children and adults alike; but if you own a dog too, it is important to remember that Halloween has an impact on them as well, whether you’re in the thick of your own celebrations or trying to keep well out of the way of it all.
With this in mind, this article will tell you about five things that you should bear in mind at Halloween if you own a dog. Read on to learn more.
First of all, many of us enjoy Halloween and get really into the spirt of things (pardon the pun) and there is often a tangible atmosphere of excitement in the house on the night itself, particularly if you’re having a party, going trick or treating, or attending an event to celebrate the season.
Many dogs that are outgoing and personable pick up on this excitement and enjoy it in their turn, particularly if they are used to life in a busy, lively family and really get involved when the kids are playing and everyone is having fun.
However, by no means all dogs like the fuss and activity of Halloween, and for dogs that are nervous, getting on in years, generally quiet, or that aren’t fully settled (perhaps because they’re still young, this is one of their first Halloweens, or you haven’t owned them long) the whole thing can be very stressful.
Keep a close eye on your dog and how they’re coping, and ensure that they stay relaxed and can retreat to a quiet, safe place if they want to.
Instagram and other social media feeds for dogs and dog lovers tend to be richly populated with often funny and adorable pictures of dogs in their Halloween costumes over the course of October, and special Halloween costumes for dogs are really easy to buy these days or of course, to make at home.
However, dressing your dog up is not usually the best idea. They don’t understand why this is happening so they’re not really in on the joke, they might find the costume frightening, restrictive or unnerving, and it might even be dangerous or cause them problems too, at what can already be a stressful time.
Dressing up is fun for people – but your dog will tolerate it at best, and be scared or unnerved at worst, so keep the costumes for the human members of the family only.
Unless you live in a very remote location, the chances are that the streets will be populated with trick or treaters on Halloween, particularly from around sundown up until the middle of the evening.
If this is the sort of time of day that your dog usually gets a walk, you might be better off walking them earlier on over Halloween, to ensure that they don’t have to navigate crowded pavements and unusual situations with people in costumes.
Dogs tend to be very opportunistic about food and many will snaffle anything they can find as soon as your back is turned, or sometimes, right in front of your face!
Whether you’re cooking up something experimental or hoping your kids will bring home a haul of sweets, remember that you will need to be vigilant about supervising your dog, and keeping an eye on where any stray wrappers and sweets end up, in order to avoid a surprise curtailment of your festivities with a trip to the vets!
If you’re having a Halloween party or if your child is trick or treating with friends, you might have children that your dog doesn’t know well over to your home or in your car in close quarters, and those children may be very excitable, dressed up, carrying food, or all three.
Dogs should be supervised around strange children at all times, even if your dog is hugely well mannered and trustworthy. This is particularly important at Halloween when everything is a little unusual, and your dog might be unpredictable in the face of all of the strange things that are going on.
Don’t leave your dog and children they don’t know alone together, ensure other children behave appropriately around your dog, and monitor your dog’s behaviour and reactions to everything going on carefully so you can intervene if your dog gets stressed.