By Karen Soukiasian

Nearly everyone loves Halloween! The closer it gets, the more the excitement level rises. Kids get to dress up like adults and adults get a chance to act like they are 8-year olds again! It may sound silly, but quite a few dog owners take a certain sense of sartorial pride, not only in their own costumes; but also in the creativity of their pet’s Halloween attire…much to their dog’s chagrin.

With a few simple precautions, the holiday can stay fun and exciting, even for the family pooch. Consider these suggestions:


English: Friendly pumpkin Svenska: Vänlig pumpa

English: Friendly pumpkin Svenska: Vänlig pumpa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Decorations add to the festivities. As many dog owners know, anything new can and often does catch their pet’s attention! Most are non-toxic, but they can be the source other problems, such as choking and obstructions. Keep them out of reach! Those flossy spider webs add a nice spooky touch, but if your pet gets into it, they can cause obstructions. Many puppies just cannot resist chewing on anything plastic. Be careful…it could be a choking hazard.

Gourds and Indian corn are often covered with a lacquer or preservative that could be toxic. They look like something fun to play with or nibble on, so keep them out of the reach of your pets.

Eating the Jack-o-Lantern most likely won’t kill your dog, but noshing on too much raw pumpkin could cause some serious digestive distress!


If you are decorating with Halloween lights, make sure all cords are out of reach of puppies. Puppies are drawn to electrical cords like flies are to…well, you know!


Candles add a special eerie effect to the ghoulish touch of Halloween decorating, but, make sure they are out of reach. Hot wax and flames can make for a holiday disaster should your puppy or dog get into lit candles or knock one over.


There is usually a ton of excitement between the doorbell ringing non-stop and your animated trick or treaters collecting their loot and parting. Don’t take any chances of your puppy or dog slipping out the door, while you are oooing and ahhing costumes!

Luna the Vampire Dog

Luna the Vampire Dog (Photo credit: SheepGuardingLlama)

If your pet is not trained, to stay away from an opened door, or the excitement level may be too high for him or her, it may prove prudent to make sure they are secured in another closed room or their crate. Expect a lot of barking!

If you don’t want to keep your dog away from the action and fun; make sure they are wearing their collar with an updated identification tag. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but you never know. In the blink of an eye, they could slip out the door and be gone before you know it.

If you are taking your dog with you, also make sure they are securely collared and ID’d. With all the hub-hub going on, they can easily slip their collar if it’s not fitted properly. It wouldn’t hurt to have some reflective striping on their collar or costume.

We hate to think anyone would want to hurt children or pets; but Halloween is not the time to risk having your pooch take treats from strangers. Some people do provide biscuits or other treats for trick or treating poochies. Just as you are careful with what your children receive, take the same precaution for your dog. If you don’t know the giver, don’t give it to your dog! To be courteous, you can accept the treat, but don’t have to immediately give it to your pet. Take it home and toss it out!


What dog doesn’t like candy? To them, Halloween is almost as tasty as Christmas! If you don’t want to spend the next few days nursing a pet with an upset tummy, or have to make an emergency trip to your veterinarian, keep all candy out of reach!

Bottom Line: Keep Halloween safe for your pet. To prevent injuries, keep decorations, lights, candles and candy out of their reach. Make sure they are collared and ID’d, should they slip out the door. If you take your dog with you, don’t feed your dog treats from strangers! Regrettably, everyone cannot be trusted. By following a few simple precautions, Halloween can be fun for you and your dog!

About the Author:

Karen A. Soukiasian, GOOD DOG! – DOG TRAINING and BED-n-BISCUITS dog boarding and training – Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida – AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN and S.T.A.R. PUPPY Evaluator

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