Halloween Safety for Dogs

Halloween safety for dogs


By: Melissa Kolmar, CPDT-KA, SBA


Halloween is my favorite holiday by far (it also happens to be my wedding anniversary)! It is important that we keep our dogs safe and happy during this spooky season. Here are some tips for Halloween safety with your dogs.

Keep candy out of reach.

Make sure that you store all candy in a cabinet so your dog can’t get to it. I don’t recommend leaving it on the counter or table as many dogs will counter-surf for goodies. Chocolate and xylitol (artificial sweetener) are both toxic to dogs and can cause serious medical problems.


Don’t leave dogs outside during Halloween.

Halloween is super fun, but can be overwhelming for your dog. If there are a lot of kids in costumes and noises going on in the neighborhood, your dog may get scared and try to escape to get away. Keep your dog inside where it is safe and quiet.


Don’t let dogs have access to the front door during trick-or-treating.

As stated above, sometimes Halloween can be overwhelming for our dogs. The constant ringing of the doorbell or knocking on the door can excite even the calmest dog. Block access to the front door so your dog can’t escape when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. You can do this by crating your dog, keeping them in another room or putting an exercise pen or baby gate around your door so your dog can’t access it.


Keep glow sticks out of reach.

This is another one to keep out of reach when you aren’t using them. Dogs who break open a glow stick may paw at their mouth, drool, become agitated and/or vomit.

Be careful of jack-o-lanterns around dogs.

If you have lit jack-o-lanterns, make sure your dog does not have access to them. The open flames can be dangerous!

Don’t dress up your dog unless your dog opts in!

This is a big one that is hard to resist. We love having our dogs take part in the dress up! If you are considering a costume for your dog, make sure they are not just tolerating it, but enthusiastically enjoying it! This means looking at your dog for any signs of stress (wide eyes, lip licking, yawning, stiff body, trying to pull the costume off, pacing, whining, panting, etc.). A costume should never restrict movement, vision or normal panting, drinking and breathing.
If your dog is not a fan of costumes (as many aren’t), consider a festive bandana instead!


Keep current ID tags on your dog.

Make sure your dog is wearing a current ID tag with their name and your phone number. This is extremely important! If your dog gets loose, this is the fastest way to get them back to you!

Don’t force your dog to meet anyone.

It should always be your dog’s choice as to whether or not they want to interact with someone. This means not letting people rush up into your dog’s space. If someone wants to greet your dog, ask them to stand at a distance with the side of their body facing your dog and their hand hanging at their side. Your dog can decide to approach and sniff the hand if they want to.

Remember, even the friendliest dog could be unnerved by all the costumes and activities on Halloween. If your dog is showing signs of stress, bring them home and let them have a quiet and safe resting spot away from the action.