Personally I have mixed feelings about Halloween, but someone who definitely isn’t a fan is my dog.
And your dog.
And all 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.
For one, chocolate and a chemical called xylitol (which is present in some sweets), are both highly toxic for dogs. Chances are that while you’re out and about he’ll encounter some that another poor soul has dropped while he’s sniffing around. Cue an expensive 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 wonderful information. But you and the kids want to get round all the best houses as quickly as possible to get the yummy 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 that’s 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.
And if you choose to ignore all this, and you do decide to take your pup out with you, for the love of Dog; do not put him in a costume! This isn’t just a subjective opinion, 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 he’s not used to, with bits hanging off of it, probably making strange noises as he moves, his stress levels will be increased and that cortisol will be being 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 might have been forced into costumes for their human’s entertainment.
So please, think about what’s best for your dog, not for your instagram, and keep your pup safe and sound at home during this crazy holiday.