I am not a fan of Halloween. And nor is my dog.
Nor is your dog.
Nor are any of the dogs.
This is because dogs are dogs and not people. And no matter what you think, they have no love for human concepts. So, please, I beg of you, don’t take your dog out trick or treating with you.
Both chocolate and xylitol, which is present in some sweets, are highly toxic to dogs and are everywhere at Halloween. If you take him out Trick or Treating with you, the chances are that he’ll sniff some out that another poor soul has dropped. Cue an expensive and heart-wrenching trip to the vets.
And on the subject of sniffing, that’s what your dog will want to do on his walk. It’s the whole point of a walk for him; sniffing, collecting all that excellent information. But you and the kids want to get round all the best houses collecting tasty treats. How long before you get frustrated with him for doing what comes naturally to him and slowing you down?
And if the treats aren’t bad enough, onto tricks. Fireworks seem to be part and parcel of Halloween now. And even for a dog who might be ok with all that noise outside while he’s safe and cosy inside, he’ll most likely, and justifiably, get scared if he sees fireworks or sparklers, or hear firecrackers at close proximity.
And if you think that a small scare won’t be that bad, or it’ll even be funny, take note that cortisol, the stress hormone, will stay in your dog’s body for up to 72 hours. That’s three days where your dog will be more jumpy than usual, three days where undesired behaviours are more likely to occur. Not so fun. For anyone.
For more on this, see our post about keeping your dog calm during fireworks.
And if you choose to ignore this advice, and you decide to take your pup out with you on Halloween, for the love of Dog; do not put him in a costume! It’s not just a preference on my part, this is for your dog’s safety and sanity.
With all the noise and people looking strange (including probably you) and things generally not being normal, suddenly forcing him into something that he’s not accustomed to, with bits hanging off of it, possibly making strange noises as he moves, his stress levels will increase, and more of that cortisol will be released.
Also, clothing hides dogs’ bodies, which means any other dogs he may encounter can’t read his body language, which can be threatening to them as they can’t see his intentions. And similarly, don’t let your dog too near other dogs that have been shoved into costumes for their human’s entertainment.
And if you choose to ignore this advice, and you decide to take your pup out with you on So please, think about what’s best for your dog. Not what will look good on your Instagram. Keep your pup safe and sound at home over this crazy holiday.
The 5th of November is rarely a fun time for dog owners. Learn how to deal with your dog if they are scared of fireworks, and how to help prevent that fear from developing in the first place.