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How to keep your dog happy this Halloween

Some dogs can find all the costumes and strange people knocking at your door unsettling at Halloween. These top tips will help to ensure your dog stays safe and happy.

Walk when it’s light

If your dog is easily spooked, take him for a walk in the late afternoon while it’s still light and all the children dressed up as ghosts and ghouls haven’t ventured out yet. If you’ll be at work on Halloween, skip the evening walk and get your dog involved in some energetic play in the house or garden instead.

Chocolate and sweets

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and sweets could make them ill. Sweet wrappers could also cause problems if swallowed. Keep sweets and chocolates well out of reach of your dog and make sure your children know that they should not give any human treats to your dog.

Deter visitors

Many trick-or-treaters will only knock on the front door if the home owners look like they’re participating in Halloween, for example, if they have decorations or lights outside the front of the house. If your dog barks or becomes upset when someone knocks on your door, deter visitors by keeping the curtains closed, outside lights off and any Halloween decorations you may have to the interior of your home.

If deterring visitors hasn’t worked during previous years, you could put a box of sweets out of the front of your house with a note telling trick-or-treaters to help themselves so that they don’t disturb you and your dog.

Be understanding

If your dog is nervous due to all the Halloween activities, you could misinterpret their behaviour for naughtiness. Never reprimand your dog for ‘bad’ behaviour. Instead, distract them with toys and play to keep them calm and reward them when they exhibit good behaviour.

Halloween costumes

If you have children and they will be dressing up for Halloween, you may want to keep your dog out of sight whilst they are wearing their costumes so that your dog isn’t frightened of them. Your dog may not recognise your children if they are covered in face paint. Alternatively, you could take a friendlier approach and dress your children up as pirates or princesses instead of scary creatures. If your dog hates wearing clothing, never force them to wear a Halloween costume.

Create a safe space

Give your dog access to a safe space inside your home that he can retreat to if he becomes frightened. This could contain his bed and some dog toys to keep him happy and settled.

Background noise

Put the TV or music on in the evening to drown out knocks at the door or any loud noises of excitement that might be going on outside.

Lit candles

If lighting candles, even when placing them inside a pumpkin, keep them well out of reach of your dog so that they don’t knock it over and cause a fire or injure themselves. Better still, use fake, battery-powered tealights in your jack-o-lanterns.

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