Top tips for dogs at Halloween

How to help your dog cope with Halloween

While dressing up in scary costumes and carving pumpkins can be great fun for the whole family – how can you make sure it is suitable your dog?

As always, it is about stopping to think about things from their perspective – and realising just how scary Halloween can be for a dog.

First of all there are the costumes, as people the dog knows and trusts suddenly turn into ghosts, and witches and zombies. They look strange, behave oddly and for a dog who looks at outlines and not details, they can be truly frightening.

Some dogs can take this in their stride, but for many, it is a confusing and worrying time.

Make sure if you are going to dress up, you let your dog see you do it – and give them a chance to investigate and smell you so they know it is really you. The same goes for all the rest of the family.

Then there is the temptation to dress up your dog and make them part of your Halloween fun. And while this is your fun - it won't be theirs.

Many dogs will happily wear a Halloween bandana – but every year social media is full of photos of dressed-up dogs looking stressed and worried. As well as not being enjoyable for most dogs, costumes can block sight, sound or movement, or even cause them to overheat or itch – all of which can result in dogs acting unpredictably or even aggressively.

Remember that chocolate is toxic for dogs, so keep human treats away. If you really want to involve your dog in Halloween, some special dog treats can make their Halloween as much fun as yours.

Note: If you have any concerns that your dog may behave aggressively to family members, consult a qualified and experienced behaviourist for help.

With a Kennel Club Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.