A dog outside with a ghost costume on.

Halloween is often considered the holiday that kicks off the holiday season. Children and adults love the sweets, costumes and jack-o-lanterns, but your dog may not find enjoyment in the same Halloween delights. Celebrate this festive holiday with the whole family while keeping your dog’s safety in mind so they can have a fun and not spooky night! 

Dog-Approved Costume Tips & Tricks 

Our pups may want to participate in all the Halloween activities, but we need to keep their safety and comfort in mind. Dressing up in costumes is a traditional way to celebrate Halloween, but dogs need to feel comfortable and confident in their costumes. Here are a few safety tips to ensure your dog enjoys their time in their Halloween gear: 

  • Pick a Halloween costume that is breathable, comfortable, and fits just right. A costume that is too big may be restrictive and cause problems when walking, but if a costume is too tight, it may cause irritation to the skin. 
  • Ensure the costume allows for regular movement. All Halloween costumes for dogs should not restrict movement, hearing or eyesight and should not include attached accessories that can be chewed or ingested. 
  • We all want to know how we look in our costume before the big night. Try on your dog’s costume a few times before Halloween to ensure it fits appropriately, your dog enjoys being in it, and it appears to be comfortable. If your dog is showing any signs of being uncomfortable, find another costume idea or skip entirely. Bandanas are a great and simple alternative your dog can wear to get in the Halloween spirit. Don’t force your pup into anything they don’t want, safety and comfort should always be number one. 
  • While your dog is in a costume, do not leave them by themselves. In the event your dog runs into a problem while in their costume, you can assist by helping them remove it. 

For even more Halloween and costume safety tips for your dog, check out the People Magazine article which features our very own Environmental Biologist, Lorraine Rhoads. 

Halloween Decoration Safety 

Dogs, like many humans, enjoy new toys. When the holiday season rolls around, new decorations make their way into our homes and sometimes, our dogs think these decorations are new toys just for them. If you have a younger puppy or an extra playful dog, be mindful about where you place these new decorations. All holiday decorations should be placed on an elevated surface or in a location out of your dog’s reach. Please make note of the following popular fall-themed decorations: 

  • Candles: If placing candles in a jack-o-lantern, please keep your dog away from them or keep out of your dog’s reach. Candles can be bumped which could lead to a larger fire concern. 
  • Pumpkin and dried corn stalks: these items aren’t poisonous, but if ingested can cause gastrointestinal problems. 
  • Visible wiring: many holiday decorations include wires and cords for electrical lighting. Please keep these out of your dog’s reach as chewing on them could lead to getting shocked or burned. 

Trick-or-Treat & What Not to Eat 

Let’s save the sweets for the humans. Please keep all Halloween candy away from your pup. Chocolate is common in a wide variety of Halloween candy, and it is also dangerous for dogs to ingest. Other sweets that do not include chocolate may include an artificial sweetener known as xylitol which is also harmful and toxic to dogs. If you are concerned your dog may have eaten Halloween candy, please contact your veterinarian right away. 

If you want to reward your pup with their own sweets on Halloween, try out a few of these healthy treat ideas!  

Safely Trick-Or-Treating with Your Dog 

Halloween is a big night full of new sounds, costumes, and unknown visitors which may make the holiday a little nerve-wracking for our four-legged family members. If your dog seems hesitant about trick-or-treating with the family, it may be best to leave them at home in a quiet, comfortable location far from the front door and in a safe and secure location they can’t escape from. This way, you won’t need to worry about your dog getting out while trick-or-treaters approach your house or when your kids come and go to show you their growing candy collection! 

Is your dog ready for a Halloween stroll through the neighborhood? Reflective elements on their costume or leash will allow them to be seen from the road. Please remain on the sidewalk to keep them out of harm’s way from oncoming traffic. Dogs are always a welcome sight but refrain from the ghosts, ghouls, and other kids in costume from petting your dog, this may panic your pup. Whether you stay in or take your pup out for a Halloween walk, be sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with up-to-date contact information in the event they run off on the spookiest night of the year. 

If Halloween causes your dog stress, consider dropping them off at Dogtopia for daycare so they are extra sleepy that night or you could even give them an overnight stay with their BFFFs (Best Furry Friends Forever). They will be cared for by our loving team in a safe and stress-free environment and you can pick them up in the morning once the Halloween festivities have ended. For more details, please reach out to a Dogtopia daycare near you.