Keep Fido Fright-Free on Halloween
Scary faces and constant visitors make Halloween very special - and especially stressful - for some dogs. Keep your precious pooches safe during trick-or-treat and Halloween parties. WHS’ Behavior Program Manager, Natalie Zielinski, recommends these helpful Halloween suggestions:
- Little Monsters at the Door
Puppies who have never experienced Halloween or dogs that are shy and easily frightened are not good greeters during Trick or Treat. Can you blame them? Ghosts and ghouls and super heroes with capes are quite scary. If your dog seems frightened, stay calm and cool. Put a good amount of distance between your dog and the goblin. Never force your dog to interact if he is frightened. The least stressful option is to place your dog in a back room with an enrichment toy to avoid the scary people.
- Did you say Doorbell?
If your dog is the type to go bonkers at the sound of a doorbell you should put her in a crate or back room with a delicious chew toy. You can also disconnect your doorbell for this day to avoid the constant trigger. Or, put up a sign that states “out of order.” This will discourage trick-or-treaters from ringing the bell.
- Costumes for Fido?
Some dogs will proudly strut their stuff in a Halloween costume while others will cower or even panic. Start with something simple like a jester collar and be sure to reward your dog with tasty treats. You will want to start way before the big day. Consider practicing 2-3 weeks ahead of time. Once your dog is comfortable with a bandana or fluffy collar you can then move on to the costume. Just drape it over your dogs back and treat. Practice this several times. You want your dog to be happy when he sees the costume. Next put the costume on and then shower your dog with tasty treats. Take if off quickly before your dog starts to struggle. Repeat this process several times. If your dog is not comfortable, consider a bandana this year and continue to practice for next year!
- Keep Candy Away
Candy is not good for dogs and with their hard working noses, you can bet they will find it. Be sure to keep all candies secure in cupboards or pantries. Consuming chocolate can be fatal. If your dog eats chocolate, call your animal emergency center immediately. Bottom line: keep all candy out of your dog’s reach.
- Also, keep safety in mind – even when wearing a costume, you must be able to keep your dog on a leash, and if you're going out at night, reflective strips (such as the kind you can get at sporting good stores for bikes) or flashing lights will help people and drivers see your dog. Make sure that your dog can still see and move comfortably, and that she can't chew off and swallow any pieces of her costume!
To consult the Behavior Department at the Wisconsin Humane Society, call 414-431-6173.