Should you involve your dog in your Halloween celebrations?

Should you involve your dog in your Halloween celebrations?

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At October draws on, many of us look forwards to Halloween with great anticipation, often particularly those of us with children who get very excited about this time of year.

Between Halloween decorations, parties, trick or treating, and things that go bump in the night, there is a lot to enjoy at Halloween – and if your family likes to involve your dog in everything that you do, you might be wondering how involved your pet can get with the holiday, or if they are better off left out.

Whilst Halloween can be a lot of fun for dogs as well as people, it does come with some hazards for our canine companions, which means that you should think carefully and weigh up the issues involved before you get your dog involved in your Halloween festivities.

In this article we will look at some of the main things that we associate with Halloween, and look at how dogs can be involved in them – and areas in which they might be better off left out altogether. Read on to learn more.

Halloween food

Halloween food seems to get weirder and wackier every year, but there is always a lot of it around, much of it sweet! The chances are that if you celebrate Halloween, you’ll be buying or baking something special for the day itself, and are also likely to have stocked up on lots of sweets and candy for your family and any visiting trick or treaters too.

Whilst you might wish to leave bowls of candy around or integrate them into displays and decorations, it is vital to ensure that they are kept well out of the reach of your dog. Artificial sweeteners can be harmful to dogs, too much sugar is bad for them, chocolate itself can be very toxic to dogs, and too much junk food in general is just as bad for dogs as it is for people.

Stick to giving your dog their normal treats and don’t be tempted to experiment with what Halloween candy they like – play it safe, and avoid a traumatic and expensive trip to the vet!


Halloween parties can be great fun for both kids and adults, but they’re not always a good idea to involve your dog in. There is a multitude of reasons for this – going somewhere strange with a lot of other people around who are in the party spirt and that might be wearing masks and outfits can be very daunting for dogs, and this can lead to unpredictable reactions.

Only very chilled out dogs will really enjoy a Halloween party, and even then, a small party of people the dog knows well and is comfortable with is best.

Don’t forget also that people like to play pranks on each other at Halloween too, which can lead to a lot of excitement, screaming and noise, all of which can be distressing for dogs.

Trick or treating

Whilst not all families trick or treat or welcome trick or treaters, many who do think about taking their dogs along to hit up the neighbours, and whether or not this is a good idea depends on you and your own dog.

Don’t take your dog trick or treating at peak times when the streets are busy and there are lots of costumed, excitable children around, nor after dark when the time of year means that you might find yourself unexpectedly faced with fireworks or loud bangs that will alarm your dog.

If you do take your dog trick or treating, ensure that they are accompanied by an adult that is responsible for their supervision and welfare, and stay with the dog at the end of each driveway, as not everyone will welcome a dog being brought to their door. Wait for the homes you visit to let you know if they’d like to see the dog, and ensure that nobody feeds them candy or anything else they should not have.


Fancy dress is almost compulsory for Halloween, and children (and even adults!) often get very competitive about finding or making the most impressive costume. You might be thinking about dressing your dog up as part of a theme or simply getting them an outfit so that they can take part in the festivities, and this is fine for many dogs but not all of them.

If your dog is used to wearing outfits or accessories like coats and the costume you have planned for them isn’t overly dramatic nor likely to distress them or impede their movement, it will probably be fine.

However, don’t dress your dog up for the first time on the day that you want to take them out to show off their costume, and ensure that they have had plenty of time to get used to wearing it first.

Not all dogs will accept being dressed up and may find it stressful or frightening, so always monitor your dog’s reactions and be prepared to remove their outfit if they’re not having fun, or appear anxious.



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