is just days away, and although this is primarily a
holiday focused on the children of the family, it would
behoove you to have a plan for your furry child as well.
may be a great opportunity to include your dog when
cruising the neighborhood with the kids. If your dog is
generally friendly, walks well on a leash and handles a
variety of distractions well — running and screaming
children, other dogs, etc. —then by all means, have
him join you for some family time and a little exercise.
If your dog is not people- or dog-friendly and doesn’t
have much in the way of leash manners, do both of you a
favor and leave him at home. Halloween is not a good
time to begin leash training — your focus will be
I am a big fan of retractable leashes, it would be
better to keep your dog on a shorter leash during your
stroll around the neighborhood, to avoid kids tripping
over or getting tangled in a light leash they can’t
see. And it’s always a good idea to have a blinker or
two on your dog’s collar or leash, so everyone knows
the location of the dog as it becomes dark.
you insist on putting your dog in costume, consider the
following: Can your dog move freely and see clearly
while in his get-up? It’s wise to have a few
costume-wearing sessions before the big night to help
the dog adjust to wearing it, and to give you the
opportunity to determine if it really is appropriate.
Aside from making sure it does not hinder your dog
physically in any way, analyze your dog’s behavior
while wearing his get-up. Does he behave as if he’s
not wearing anything, or does he shut down, flatten his
ears, glance from side to side and generally appear
miserable? Remember, your dog is counting on you to make
decisions that are always in his best interest, so if he’s
not enjoying the costume thing like — surprise — a
human would, check yourself, remember he’s a dog, and
take the darned thing off!
you’ll be the one at home, handing out candy when the
ghosts and little goblins arrive at your door. Give some
thought as to what you’d like your dog to do while you’re
answering the door and oohing and aahing over the little
costumed creatures. Does your dog have good door and
people manners? Is he accustomed to frequent visitors at
the door? If not, you may want to contain him in another
room – with the door closed and his own little project
to focus on, such as a yummy chewy bone that will keep
him happy and occupied for a couple of hours. Or you may
wish to have your well-trained dog go to the door with
you — just be sure you have him on a leash. Also,
while you’re handing out candy, have some treats in
your pocket to toss to your dog as a reward for
remaining quiet, controlled and an all-around great
example of how a well-trained dog should be.
and perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that although
dogs are attracted to chocolate, it contains
methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine)
in varying amounts, depending on the type of chocolate.
Humans can break down and excrete methylxanthines much
more efficiently than dogs. In general, the darker and
more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger, but
it’s best not to allow your dog near any of it.
Symptoms of chocolate ingestion include vomiting,
diarrhea, elevated temperature, muscle rigidity,
increased heart rate, rapid breathing and seizures. If
you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, seek
veterinary help right away; the sooner your dog receives
treatment, the more likely he will be to recover.
plan your Halloween celebration carefully to ensure that
all family members, including the family dog(s), have a