Halloween Dog Safety Tips
Halloween is a lot of fun for people, especially children, but not that great for dogs. As humans, we know what’s going on – people playing like they are someone else – but think of it from your dog’s perspective – the doorbell is constantly ringing, and when it opens, there’s these weird creatures on the other side. Their shapes or profiles are different than what dogs are used to seeing, and some of them really don’t look anything like humans! They may scream and move in strange ways. They carry these bags, and then we give them *our* resources. What’s a dog to think? Halloween does not rate high on a dog’s “good list.”
Your dog may love people and be wonderful with kids during the rest of the year, but he probably isn’t used to costumes and a barrage of visitors ringing your doorbell over and over and over and over again. Dogs like daily routine, and Halloween certainly is not routine.
We as dog owner/guardians are responsible for keeping our dogs, our families, and everyone else safe. Be aware of things that can potentially go awry, and prepare for them. There are several areas of potential hazards:
- Things that dogs might eat things that are not good for them
- Interactions between dogs and people – especially children
- The level of excitement or fear which may trigger unwanted dog behaviors
Your dog may become frightened or nervous or even become territorial or aggressive because there are so many changes, such as:
- Alteration in schedules
- Commotion of a constant stream of strange-looking visitors
- Doors opening and closing
- Lots of excitement
- Non-stop ringing doorbell
- Routine interrupted
- Strange clothing
- Strange music
Many dogs are suspicious of anything new. If your dog is sensitive or shy, all the commotion may be overwhelming for him – if he can’t run away from it, he may bite to protect himself. Even if your dog is good natured or calm, the constant ringing of the doorbell may make him frightened, stressed, or confused which will cause him to bite. If your dog is a protection breed or one that is easily irritated, he may think trick-or-treaters are a threat and bite them. And then with the door opening and closing many, many times, your dog may easily escape.
Please keep your dog away from trick-or-treaters or party-goers by putting him in a back room, such as in a back bedroom with the door closed, behind a baby-gate, or in a dog crate. You can give him a favorite toy or comfortable blanket with your scent on it and a new chew toy or Kong stuffed with frozen treats so it will take him a long time to get them out.
Here are some reasons to keep him away from the door:
- Bite a perceived intruder
- Bolt out the door
- Frighten children with his barking
- Get hit by a car
- Have stress-related diarrhea
- Jump on someone and tear the costume
- Knock someone over
- Run away
PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG IN YOUR YARD. Keep him in your house so he won’t:
- Bark so you get complaints from your neighbors
- Be injured by pranksters
- Be killed by those same pranksters
- Be poisoned
- Be tormented – things can be thrown at him
- Be tortured
- Escape and be hit by a car
- Get stolen – gates can be left open or people can enter fenced yards even with Beware of Dog signs.
I hope you enjoyed these Halloween dog safety tips. Halloween is a fun time for you. Let’s make it a safe time for your dog.
I’d love to hear what your comments are. How have you gotten your dog to stop chewing? Please share your experiences or ask a question so we can begin a dialogue to help each other.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It does not replace a consultation with a dog trainer, dog behavior consultant, or veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog.
Copyright 2015 Caryl Wolff