For many of us people (especially the kids) Halloween is one of the best times of the year. You get to dress up in costume and eat candy – what’s not to love?
But Halloween can be very scary for your dog. Your canine family member can get confused, anxious and stressed at all the commotion. Not just all the noisy kids coming to the door in strange clothes … but Halloween decorations often make eerie sounds and movements. So October walks can be frightening. Plus, there’s the added danger your dog could get into some of that candy – such as chocolate which is toxic to dogs.
How should you handle the situation? Whether you’re a Halloween lover or not, you’ll need to help your pup stay calm when your doorbell rings dozens of times in one evening. For canines that already bark and stress because the doorbell rings, can you imagine how they can get over threshold much sooner.
The first step is to keep your canine as comfortable as possible – away from windows and the front door, in a quiet area, maybe with a nice bone to chew on. If your dog can stay away from the fray, he should feel more relaxed. Consider keeping the candy being given in a bowl outside by your mailbox not on your doorstep. Or sit in your driveway and pass out the treats.
Staying Bite Free
Have you thought about dog bite Halloween Safety? and I’m not talking about vampires, either. Many dogs enjoy the howl-idays. But dogs biting kids happens more often at this time of year than any other.
While nonstop doorbell rings and visitors showering attention may be doggy bliss for your pet, even friendly laid back pooches get their tails in a twist over the disruption to routine. That can be dangerous for the pet—and for the human.
Dogs recognize people by smell but also by sight. He may not recognize a favorite human behind that Halloween mask. Miniature goblins, witches and other ghoulish visitors often are strange children he won’t know. A flowing cape or sparkly fairy wings can be scary. A frightened dog easily mistakes a waving “light saber” or pitchfork as a weapon aimed to hurt.
Halloween is a high-risk holiday for dog bites with children in costumes that scare dogs encountering strange pets on their own turf. And when hero dogs defend themselves, their homes and their people from “space aliens” your child could get bitten. Wolfbane, garlic and holy water won’t help but these tips can keep trick or treaters safe and the dogs happy, too.
Tips To Prevent Halloween Dogs Biting Kids
Call Ahead. It’s best to plan trick or treat visits with people you know—and ask them about confining their dog before you arrive. Pet “parents” want to keep their “fur-kids” safe, too, and should appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Keep Doors Clear. Closed spaces and especially entryways get dogs excited. Your pet will be hyper-protective of doors and gates. So when the kids arrive, keep King in his own room. Advise your children to avoid entering a stranger’s gated fence when a dog is inside—that keeps him from escaping, too.
Admire From A Distance. Costumed kids should not approach, touch or play with any dog they don’t know. Even a known pet may be suspicious of a three-foot Sponge-Bob. Cute dogs may be friendly but swipe candy or knock down a toddler.
Supervise. There’s nothing better than parents eyeballing their kids and dogs. An adult should always be present when kids and dogs mix. Petting any dog requires permission first from the person who knows the dog best.
Look Away. Should you notice a strange dog, don’t stare. In dog language that can challenge a dog to show you the sharp ends of his teeth.
Be A Tree. Loud giggly voices, running, and arm waving can be so exciting to dogs they chase kids out of reflex and perhaps knock them down. So if a strange dog does approach standing still—like a tree—helps keep him calm.
Be A Log. Dogs instinctively jump up to check out a human’s face, and that Halloween mask may prove too intriguing. But if your child gets knocked down, coach her to act like a log—roll up and be still—until the dog goes away. Otherwise, a wriggling kid teases the dog to grab the costume—or an ankle—and play tug.
Don’t Play Fight- kids Playing with friends around your dog in costume can result in an attack or bite. They are family pets but are still protective especially of a clown running towards your son or daughter.
What Else Can You Do?
As a Dog Owner:
Secure the dog safely behind a closed door or in a crate away from the front door.
Close blinds or drapes so the dog doesn't see people coming and going through the window.
Give the dog a chew bone or other toy.
Watch for trick-or-treaters so they don't have to ring your doorbell or knock if you have a dog that barks at those sounds.
Keep all pets inside, even if you have a fence.
As a Visitor or Trick-or-Treater:
Avoid trick-or-treating at houses where a dog is tied in the backyard or barking behind a fence.
If an owner opens the door and there's a dog, stay where you are. Let the owner know if you feel uncomfortable around the dog and wait for them to move the dog away from the door.
Never approach any dog, even if it's one you know. If you're in costume, it may not recognize you.
The best practice when you come across any threatening dog is to be STILL:
Stay where you are – don't run, wave your arms, or jump.
Take your gaze down to the ground, not making eye contact with the dog.
Ignore the dog. Animals can sense our emotions, so pretending the dog isn't in front of you will help it understand you're not a threat.
Lie on the ground and curl yourself into a ball if you are knocked to the ground. Cover your face and head with your arms.
Leave slowly. As soon as the dog loses interest in you, back away from it until it's no longer in sight.
Remember: Even the nicest of dogs can have bad days that can cause them to react negatively. The best way to prevent dog bites is education. Take a look at our dog bite safety resources so you can be prepared on Halloween or any other day.