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How to Have a Spooky Safe Dog Halloween

Ashley is wearing a Dorothy costume from the Wizard of Oz and smiling while she holds her pyrenean sheepdog, Gryf

By Guide Dog Mobility Instructor Ashley Nunnelly

Spooky season is upon us! Here are a few tips to make your dog’s Halloween mostly full of treats (of the dog-safe variety) and fewer tricks!

Golden retriever in a red t-shirt in front of a yellow pot that reads "Hunny" in black lettering across it

  • Keep the human treats far away from the reach of animal friends – obviously, most of the sweet treats that we like do not agree with dogs! No chocolate, and be especially watchful for “sugar free” candies that may contain xylitol.
  • As excited as I am to see all of the adorable trick-or-treaters at my door, my dogs are always even MORE excited! Don’t you know that every visitor is for them?! Make sure that excitable dogs are either in another room or on a leash while you dish out your tasty delights.
  • Concerning costumes: as adorable as dogs always look in costumes, most dogs really do not enjoy wearing them! If you are going to dress up your furry friend for the holiday, try to avoid costumes that go over your dog’s head. If you have a dog that seems to feel comfortable in a costume, then definitely take some time before the pictures or the party with plenty of tasty treats to help them feel comfortable!
    • Here is a video example of teaching my oldest dog to put her head in a costume. I chose this costume specifically because it is very similar to the puppy coat that she wore before she was career changed in puppyhood. So, I knew that she would be comfortable with the way it felt to wear!

  • If you take your dog out with you while you are collecting your treats in the neighborhood, make sure you have some dog treats prepared. Dogs tend to classify humans as “this is the shape that means that is a human,” which means that if we are wearing, say, a wig, a giant hat or a Michael Myers mask, then your dog really might see a monster! Especially once the darkness sets in and things get real spooky. Help them realize that it is just a human under the mask! 😊

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