Pet Care

I Allow My Dog to Trick or Treat

Terry M. Cervantes 

Halloween brings candy, monsters and (best of all) dogs in costume! It’s tempting to bring your miniature werewolf or Wookie to trick or treat – but will your dog be as much fun as you are?

Will your dog be a good Trick-or-Treater?

As much as we wish we could take our dogs anywhere, each unique dog shines better in different environments. Some dogs find crowds stressful, while others like The attention! Some dogs are professionals to stay by your side and others prefer to walk around.

Go through this simple checklist and see if you can answer “yes” to each question:

  • Does your dog feel comfortable in crowds?
  • Are you not afraid of strangers?
  • Is your dog suitable for children?
  • Are you comfortable with people in unfamiliar costumes?
  • Do loud noises or sudden movements make you anxious?
  • Will they come reliably when they are called?
  • Do you know how to walk or run on a short leash?
  • Are you a pro at not stealing kibble from human food?
  • Most importantly — do you think your dog will have fun cheating or treating?

If you can safely tick all the boxes on the List, congratulations, your dog is probably a trick-or-treat enthusiast! If there are areas where your pooch might be a little wobbly, it doesn’t mean that Halloween adventures are out of place. You can start small with any dog that feels a little uncomfortable or is new to trick or treating.

Try to go there early or after in the evening to avoid the densest crowds. Keep your dog close to you so that he can easily check in at any time and return to his happy place for a Break. Consider having nervous pets on the sidewalk with you while the kids knock on doors instead of taking them door to door to reduce meetings with strangers and potential anxiety from enthusiastic owners. Small adjustments can make Halloween Night much more accessible to your dog!

Should you dress up your dog?

Look, we know that dogs in pet costumes are the cutest thing on all fours, but there are some things you need to keep in mind before browsing the pet store for Halloween costumes.

Costumed dog on a trick or treating adventure with kids

First of all, is your dog happy to wear clothes? Some puppies love to be wrapped in cozy sweaters, winter coats and small snowshoes, which is a great sign of patience with a suit. On the other hand, if you have a dog trying to tear off a scarf or slouch in a T-Shirt, you should probably scale back your costume plans.

The good news is that there is a whole range of Halloween dog costumes that meet all comfort levels when dressing up!

For dogs who like to wear clothes, you have a lot of options! Just pay attention to the occasion for which you are dressing her. You may be excited about a dog costume contest, but if you are going to a wild Trick-or-Treat event for dogs or a Trick-or-Treat event for people with crowded crowds, you may want to skip all the costumes with big wings or legs that could hinder your movements.

For dogs who feel less comfortable dressing up, keep things to a minimum! A vampire cape tied around your neck like a collar may seem more familiar to you than a full shirt. A classic Scooby-Doo collar completes a costume with a strip of fabric! You can also decorate your leash for a little Flair that you won’t feel at all.

If your dog’s enthusiasm for costumes doesn’t match yours, consider doing a quick Halloween photo shoot before trick-or-treating at home. You will probably be a little more patient for a photo or two wearing your suit in your living room before taking it off and walking around the neighborhood with them exactly the way you want.

Tips for deceiving or treating dogs

If you have decided to trick or treat your dog on Halloween, we have some tips to keep things safe and fun for your puppy.

  • Keep all the Halloween candy away from your dog! Sugar is not good for them at first, and chocolate, licorice and sugar-free sweets can be especially peril for dogs.
  • Bring dog treats so you can give them dog-safe treats while the kids have their sugar rush.
  • Make sure your dog has a clear and up-to-date identification tag, even if he is dressed up! Halloween can be chaotic and you want to make sure they get home if you lose them in the crowd.
  • Keep a close eye on your dog’s body language to make sure he won’t be stressed. Bringing them home at the first sign of discomfort for a Break or for the rest of the night will reduce the chances of bad interactions that could harm your experience.

Finally, if you decide that cheating or treating your dog is out of the question, there are many other things you can do together on October 31st! Older dogs with low stamina might like to dress up in an extra cozy Hot dog costume and accompany the jack-o-lanterns on the porch while they hand out treats. Dogs, cats and humans can enjoy a night on the couch and watch a movie about Halloween dogs-maybe this time they’ll just skip Cujo (sorry, Stephen King).

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Terry M. Cervantes 

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