Fright night is fun for kids, but not for many animals. Screaming, and running and scary costumes can make dogs nervous, uncomfortable and frightened. Dogs do not understand this change in appearance and can become very fearful. Keep in mind that children on Halloween night are excited and doing their best to be scary. This is not a fair or safe situation to put even the best of dogs in. Even the normally terrific tolerant family dog can find this night hard to handle.
Here are some tips for Dog Owners as well as for kids & parents to stay safe this Halloween season.
1. Secure your dog behind a closed door or in a crate in a room away from the front door or the party if children are meeting at your house.
2. Give him a stuffed Kong or other long lasting chew.
3. Play music or leave a TV or radio playing in the dog’s room to help mask the sounds of the activity at the front door.
4. Close drapes so that the dog does not see people coming and going through the window.
5. If you have a dog that barks at the sound of the doorbell, disconnect it or watch for trick-or-treaters so that they do not have to ring or knock.
6. Puppies and dogs that like to chase can get overly excited by costumes with dangly bits or streaming material. Supervise very carefully if you have a dog that may try to play with your children’s costumes while they are wearing them. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if the dog does start nipping at their costume since the more they move, the more exited the dog will get.
7. Keep your dogs (and cats) indoors around Halloween time. Pets have been stolen, lost, or otherwise injured as a result of the traffic on Halloween.
8. Dog’s don’t like to be dressed up! It makes them anxious and uncomfortable and adds to the stress of an already stressful time. If your dog, licks his chops, yawns, shows a half moon of white in his eye, turns away, doesn’t co-operate, tries to escape, growls, puts his teeth on you or the costume, then you know that he doesn’t want to wear the costume. Try a fancy collar or bandana instead, or just leave the dog out of Halloween if he’d rather not participate.
Kids and Parents:
1. Avoid houses if you can hear a dog barking behind the door, you can see a dog behind a screen door or you see a dog tied up in the yard or barking behind a fence.
2. Never approach any dog, even if you know him. He may not recognize you in your costume.
3. If an owner opens the door and there is a dog there, just stay still and wait for the dog owner to put the dog away. You can tell them you do not want to come near the dog. Do not move toward the person and dog. Wait for them to come to you to give you your candy. Wait for them to close the door before you turn and leave.
4. If a dog escapes just stand still and Be a Tree (slowly turn your back toward the dog hands folded in front, watching your feet). He will just sniff you and then move on. Wait for the owner to come and get the dog before you turn away.
5. If you meet a loose dog, Be a Tree and wait until it goes away.
6. It is best to ignore other people’s dogs on Halloween if you meet them out walking. The dog may be worried about all the strange creatures that are out and about. Even if you know the dog, he may not recognize you in your costume