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Tips for a safe and fun Halloween

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As a reminder to my dog-owning friends out there, Halloween will soon be here, and with it comes lots of potential problems for our 4-legged friends.

1. Costumes are fun and exciting for the humans in our pack, but for the furry friends, costumes can be frightening, even terrifying. If your dog isn’t up to Halloween rituals of little masked bandits coming to your door please be sure to set them up in a room where they can avoid the excitement. Leaving a tv or radio on can help drown out the noise of the spooky little visitors. Halloween isn’t the best time to test your dog’s confidence levels. 😉

2. Most people know that chocolate isn’t good for dogs. Just to be safe, let’s just include ALL of the sugary goodness of Halloween on that list. If candy enters your house, please keep it up and out of reach of even the most athletic counter-surfers. It doesn’t only smell yummy to us…. it smells great to them too! If you plan on walking the neighborhood with your pooch please keep an eye out for confectionery crumbs along your route. No one wants an emergency trip to the Vet at 2 am.

3. If you wish to dress your pup up in a costume for Halloween, be sure to practice weeks early, and try to put a positive association to the costume by either feeding them the best foods while wearing their costume, or letting them play with their favorite toy. There’s nothing wrong with your dog thinking that wearing their costume leads to a nice chunk of roast beef!

4. Doorbells tend to excite most dogs. If you expect lots of doorbell ringing on Halloween, you can either: 1. muffle the doorbell on the wall with thick fabrics and some duct tape, 2. Keep the dog secluded in a distant part of the house, with a radio or tv on, or 3. Spend the remaining days leading up to Halloween practicing with the doorbell. Ring it continuously until the dog stops barking (a minute or more), and when it’s been quiet for 15+ seconds, say “Goodboy/girl emphatically, and toss it yummy treats. That’s my preferred method. Build a positive association.

5. If you plan on going out with your pup, just remember to wear both reflective fabrics (safety vests, collars, and leashes) AND illuminated fabrics (LED collars and leashes). You just can’t be lit up enough in those bewtiching hours when all of those ghosts and ghouls are running the streets.

I hope you all have a safe, yet fun Halloween. 🙂

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