On Halloween, the Upper West Side enjoys doggy parades, costume parties, and many other festivities that are designed specifically with our dogs in mind. I often think our Halloween antics must strike our dogs as particularly bizarre, even for humans. We should take care to keep the comfort and security of our pups in mind as we revel in this entertaining holiday. Here are a few do’s and don’ts!
DO dress your dog up in an adorable costume. Consider matching it to your own. Perhaps you could dress as the Queen of Dragons, and your dog could be a dragon. How about a jockey and his horse? No matter what you choose, keep it simple and make your dog’s comfort your number one priority. Attach something to his harness or a sweater that he is already comfortable wearing, or purchase some dog safe body paint online!
DON'T stress your dog by forcing him into an uncomfortable or elaborate costume, shaving him for effect, or using make up and hair products made for humans.
DO gradually introduce your dog to an awkward costume piece (such as a hat) by having him wear it for short intervals while lavishing him with praise and treats during the days leading up to Halloween.
DON'T adorn costumes for your dog with small pieces or materials that could be chewed, swallowed, or choked on.
DO avoid costumed characters, haunted houses, and automated machines designed to be scary. Your dog is unlikely to understand that these are meant to be amusing, and they can create lasting anxiety.
DON'T leave candy and other treats on the floor. Many dogs have gotten sick after raiding a toddlers halloween sack.
DO be mindful of the door if your household accepts trick-or-treaters. Dogs are at a greater risk of running off while you are distracted with the fun of the evening. Set up a baby gate in advance, and teach your dog to go to a mat when the doorbell rings.
Keep your dog’s comfort level in mind and be aware of any signs of stress or anxiety that need relief, and you can both enjoy a safe and fun holiday.