As we all know, 2020 has been one heck of a year thus far. Now here we are, the week of Halloween when the kids are supposed to get all dressed up in their costumes and go door to door saying "trick or treat." Depending on where you are in the United States, you may or may not get to take the kids trick or treating. However, on Halloween night, it might be a good idea to get out still and walk the neighborhood as usual and take in all the incredible Holloween decorations that people have put out for you to enjoy.
Trick or Treating During COVID
On this night, the kids get very excited because not only do they get to dress up, but they usually get a sack full of candy, which they can enjoy for the next couple of weeks. That being said, what about our pups?
Trick or treating is a great evening to get the whole family together, including our furry friends, and walking the neighborhood. We want to keep everyone safe, so here are a few tips to keep you, your family, and your fur-baby safe while walking the neighborhood.
Kids and Other Pets
It's essential to know your dog's personality and degree of socialization before you go out trick or treating. How is your pet with both children and other animals? A dog with a history of aggression should not get to go trick-or-treating. You are the best judge of your dog's demeanor, so make smart choices for you and your dog.
Even friendly outgoing dogs can become scared or anxious while walking the streets on Halloween. Since you are knocking on strangers' doors, you need to be mindful of what is on the other side of the door. They may have a dog that doesn't like that your dog is on the other side. So be respectful, and if necessary, wait with your pet at the curb while your kids collect their sweets.
Also, if your dog doesn't have a strong "Leave It" command, then leave your dog at home. Kids almost always drop candy on the ground, and we want to make sure that our fur-babies don't pick something up and eat it and end up getting sick.
Should I Leave My Dog Home Alone?
Of course, this is up to you. However, we suggest that you put your furry friend in a room or crate far away from the front door, so they are disturbed by all the knocking that will happen on Halloween night. And if they are not fans of people walking by on the other side of the fence, you should also bring them inside, so they aren't always barking and scaring the kids as they walk by.
Pet Etiquette While Trick or Treating
A few tips for keeping your dog safe on your trick-or-treating adventures:
- Put reflective tags or a vest on your dog for visibility. Take a flashlight.
- Try a front-hook (no-pull) harness if he needs help walking on a loose leash. If he is still learning to walk nicely on a leash, tonight is an excellent night for practice. If it gets to be too much for your dog and they are too distracted, then take them home before you continue your journey around the neighborhood.
- Make sure you are using a short leash, not a retractable one.
- Be mindful of fire hazards. Keep your dog away from candles or lit pumpkins without lids.
- Bring baggies to clean up after him, just in case!
- Please do not allow anyone to give him candy, and be aware that there will be candy dropped on the ground.
- Do not accept doggie treats from people you don't know. Whether it's a food allergy or something you can't trace back to a particular source, you don't want your dog to get sick. Kindly say "no thanks" to the person offering it.
- Always be alert! Not everyone is watching where they are going because they may be distracted by the kids and decorations.
- Take along some treats (dog treats, not candy!), and reward your pup periodically for being such a good dog.
- If he seems unhappy, don't force him to come along. Take him home and give him a dog bone to chew on until you return home.
Staying Home to Give Out Candy
Staying home can be just as fun and exciting as walking the neighborhood! But all the doorbell ringing and door knocking maybe a little much for your dog. Here are some tips that should help you keep your dog safe and in control while ghosts and goblins stop by:
- Have a room or a crate prepared for your dog somewhere near the back of the house if the excitement gets to be too much. Maybe turn on some music or the tv to help keep them distracted from the door noise.
- Don't force your dog to interact with people or children if these kinds of activities make him uncomfortable. If you know that your dog has issues with rough petting, multiple people approaching at once, or strangers coming to your door, keeping him in a quiet room is a safer and less anxiety-producing option for your dog.
- Teach your dog to stay at doorways, and reinforce him for holding that stay instead of bounding through to greet trick-or-treaters. If they are not trained to stay away from the door, then be sure to put them in their "safe place" until the trick or treaters are less often as the evening goes on.
Should I Put a Costume on My Dog?
If you want to dress your pup up for trick-or-treating:
- Make sure it doesn't restrict his ability to breathe, see, hear, move, or bark.
- Avoid costumes that constrict anywhere around his nose, neck, or body.
- Be especially wary of rubber bands or safety pins as they can cut into his skin and cause injury.
If your dog doesn't like to wear a sweater or jacket, then the costume will not work either. So, please don't force it. Instead, do something simpler like a big orange bow or even a Halloween bandana.
Happy Howl-o-ween from the team here at Vital Pet Life! Be sure to share you trick or treat stories and pictures with us using @VitalPetLife and they hashtags #Halloween2020 #HalloweenSpirit #TrickOrTreat #TrickOrTreatWithMyDog #HalloweenDog #DogCostume #HappyHalloween