Happy Howl-o-ween: Have Fun and Be Safe

Written by Ralph Kowalski

More dog owners love to have fun during Halloween  and  join in on the good times by dressing their pet in a Halloween costume as well.

Jana Nichols, owner of Gone to the Dogs, which is a boutique for dogs located  at 306 E Grand River Avenue in Old Town,   said,

"Whether it’s a baby boomer trend or a tendency to treat our pets like a part of the family, our fascination with our canine companions has reached new heights."

According to www.drsfostersmith.com, anyone can get their dog to love their costume.

With a properly trained dog, and dog-loving neighbors, you can take your dog trick-or-treating with his new Halloween pet costume.

Some dogs love getting the attention that a halloween costume brings, but other dogs just don’t like being laughed at. How do you get these dogs to like the costume? Here are some tips:

  • Don’t put the costume on right away and expect your dog to go along with it. A few weeks before you expect him to wear the costume, use treat training to get him motivated.
  • Drape the costume over his back for a few seconds, and then give him a little treat. Do this for a few seconds several times, then daily, longer each time, treating and praising all the while.
  • Put the costume on loosely, and follow the above instructions, for a few seconds, then a few minutes, with praise and treats galore.

This year, also be prepared to make the season a safe one for all members of the family. Here are some important tips our veterinarians recommend:

  • Halloween season is a time of mischief and pranks, and too often dogs and cats become unwilling participants. Keep your outdoor pets well supervised in the yard or, better yet, keep them indoors and safe from neighborhood hooligans at night.
  • If your dog has the personality and temperament to accompany the kids trick-or-treating, there are a variety of costumes available in pet-friendly sizes. Just make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with his ability to breathe, see, hear, move, or bark. Always make sure the fit isn’t constricting, and keep an eye out for signs your dog may be getting stressed out.
  • Like any other night you take your dog for a stroll, make sure he’s wearing his collar & nametag/ID. And with so many other people on the street, it’s important to keep him on a lead or leash.
  • Just as you’d make sure your kids aren’t eating unsafe candy, never let your dog get a hold of any bite-size sweets. Candy and wrappers are potential choking hazards, and chocolate is particularly dangerous for dogs – a toxin. Instead, pick up a container of Baked Halloween Cookies for Dogs to share or any other of your pooch’s favorite biscuits and treats.
  • No other time of year will so many strange kids in even stranger costumes be knocking on your door. This can be especially nerve wracking for the territorial dog. With the door opening and closing all night, be careful of them darting out. You may even want to put up a temporary gate in the entranceway, or keep your pup in a separate room.
  • For especially nervous animals, the haunting screams of kids and endless chiming doorbells can get to be too much for comfort. There are a variety of calming products designed for storm- and travel-shy pets, which are also useful on Halloween.
  • Finally, decorations and Jack-O’-Lanterns are tempting for pets to get their noses into. Needless to say, it’s too easy for them to get hurt if left unsupervised, whether it’s in a tangle of crepe paper or a singed coat from an open flame. Always keep these Halloween favors out of your pet’s reach!