While I hate scary movies of any kind, I adore Halloween!  But in an all treats, no tricks kind of way.

And of course I want to celebrate the holiday with my pups!  Unfortunately Halloween can be scary for them if we don’t help them.   

Think about it from our pup’s perspective – there are weird yard decorations like giant skeletons (these always freak Violet out), doorbells ringing (Bernie’s nemesis), and strangers wearing costumes at your door.  And that’s not even including the costumes we ask them to wear!

So, let’s ensure this spooky season is all about the wonder and joy it brings, both for you and your beloved pup.  I’ll share some ‘pup-tastic’ Halloween tips that will make this holiday a treat-filled adventure for you and your dog.

Get in the festive spirit early

Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect opportunity to get in the festive spirit. If you want to make sure that your dog has a great time with all of this Halloween excitement, here are some tips that can make your dog’s Halloween as memorable as possible:

  • Get in the festive spirit early by making a Halloween-themed playlist. To ensure that both you and your dog are ready for all of the pumpkin carving, costume parties and trick or treating festivities, start getting excited about it now! Listen to some spooky music together—it’ll surely be an exciting way to kick off October. Check out this Disney Halloween playlist on Spotify!
  • Make some fall inspired treats with your dog! Here are some awesome recipes. 20 Homemade Fall Dog Treats
  • Check out local dog-friendly events to celebrate with friends across Michigan by signing up for my weekly “Pupdate” emails (send every Wednesday afternoon).  Just click here to join the Firefly VIP pack and have all the local dog friendly and animal-related events sent straight to your inbox.

Costumes for you and your dog

I feel like there are few things as fun as matching or coordinating costumes between you and your dog. Here are some things to keep in mind for your costumes:

  • Use a costume that fits your dog’s personality. If you have an energetic, playful dog, look for costumes that are light-weight and easy to put on and take off (think: Velcro). If your dog is more laid back, you could try a more intricate costume. 

  • Be careful that whatever costume you choose you are still able to control your dog like normal. Whether that’s a harness or a collar we don’t recommend trying something new on such a busy night. Please do not make a retractable leash part of your costume!

Keep your dog safe while trick-or-treating.

You want your dog to be safe on Halloween, so here are a couple of things you can do to make sure that happens:

  • Keep him on a non-retractable leash. This is especially important if there’s going to be an abundance of children in costumes running around. Not only will this keep everyone safe, but it’ll also allow you to enjoy the festivities more while still keeping an eye on your pup.

  • Make sure he has identification tags attached to his collar or harness/vest. Having his name and phone number helps ensure he’ll get home safely if someone finds him alone somewhere (like out in front of their house).

  • Gauge their mood throughout the night. Depending on the level of activity and decorations in your area they may become anxious or agitated. If this becomes the case then it’s better for both of you if you head home earlier than planned. 

 Passing out candy instead of heading out?

Not everyone wants to head out into the hustle and bustle of Halloween activities. Here are some Halloween tips for you and your dog if you’re staying in.

  • Set your dog up in a separate room with the TV on away from the front door. Especially if you’re going to be passing out candy. If your dog gets triggered by the doorbell you can leave your light off or leave a bowl of candy and dog treats at the door. 
  • If your dog is anxious you can give them a frozen kong, bully stick, or some other long-lasting treat to keep them distracted.  A thundershirt may help as well.
  • Make sure he has identification tags attached to his collar or harness/vest. Having his name and phone number helps ensure he gets out of the house or yard somehow. 
  • We recommend walking your dog on a leash to let them out to keep them extra safe. There can be a lot of harmful antics toward animals around Halloween. 

Avoid the toxins

With any holiday it is important for you and your dog to be aware of the dangers of certain foods. While many of us enjoy these treats during this time of year, they can be quite harmful to our canine companions.

Avoid chocolate: Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. The darker a chocolate product is the more dangerous it becomes. Even small amounts can cause serious health problems including vomiting and diarrhea (or even death) in dogs. Darker chocolates include cocoa powder and baking chocolate; milk chocolate is less likely to poison your dog but still isn’t safe as they will still likely get sick from it.

Watch for xylitol: this sweetner is deadly to dogs and found in a lot of sugar free or low sugar candies and treats. As well as most gums! 

Avoid salt: Salt is also one ingredient you should avoid with your dog when passing out treats on Halloween night! While salt might not make them sick immediately after eating some salty snacks like popcorn or pretzels (if they even eat those kinds), long-term excessive intake has been linked with high blood pressure or heart disease down the line so try not feeding them too many salty snacks like chips either!

Halloween Tips for You and Your Dog

If you follow these tips, your dog will have a better time at Halloween than most. Not only will they be safe, but they’ll get to enjoy some treats and dress up in costumes with you! So dress up, turn up the music, and eat lots of goodies!