How to Prep Your Dog for Trick-or-Treaters

Dog dressed up for halloweenBy Niccole Schreck, Rent.com

You may love watching neighborhood kids dressed up as their favorite characters, but your dog may not. Seeing all those trick-or-treaters could stress your dog out. Not to mention, Halloween is full of candy that’s definitely not part of your pet’s diet. Before the ghosts and ghouls of All Hallow’s Eve begin their haunt, take some time to come up with dog-friendly ideas to keep your pet happy.

Keep your pet safe

Be sure to keep you dog in a safe area or room of your home away from the front door so there isn’t a chance he accidentally gets out when the front door is opened. Not only does this protect your pet, it also makes kids who aren’t used to dogs feel more comfortable.  As always, make sure that your pets are wearing collars with current identification information.

Introduce Noises

Your dog has probably heard plenty of doorbells and knocks throughout his life, but likely not in the huge batch that occurs on Halloween. Training your dog to become familiar with the increase of sounds can be helpful. Consider ringing your own doorbell or knocking the door when you get back every day. You can also have your roommate, spouse or kids do the same. By the time Halloween arrives, your dog will, hopefully, be accustomed to the increased noise level.

Keep your dog indoors as much as possible

If you need to take your dog for a walk or to bring him outside, keep him on a short leash and be sure he is wearing visible and up-to-date ID tags. Halloween brings tons of strangers outside who could frighten your pet. Even if your dog is normally behaved around strangers, the unusual costumes and elevated noise levels could cause stress for your pet.

Pay Attention to Behavior

Pay attention to you dog’s demeanor. If he seems overstressed or excited, you may want to find a quiet spot in the house for him.  If your dog feels threatened, he’s more likely to act out. Here are some warning signs that could indicate your dog may be experiencing stress:

  • Turning his head away
  • You can see the whites of his eyes
  • He is totally still
  • Tail between his legs
  • Body tensing up
  • Raised fur on the back
  • Bobs his head frantically
  • He is trembling

Watch your pet carefully to be sure he’s acting normal. You know your dog better than anyone else, so you’ll be able to see when something’s wrong.

Beware of Candy

You may know that a candy bar will make your pet sick, but he doesn’t. Keep a close eye on your dog to make sure he’s not eating something he shouldn’t. If you see him nibbling, try to get the food out of his mouth. You should contact your veterinarian right away if you have any health concerns. In your own home, keep the candy bowl high up and out of your dog’s reach. Be sure to throw away wrappers so your pet won’t be tempted by the lingering scent of treats.

Make a Haven

Your dog likely already has a favorite spot in your home. When Halloween comes around, you may want to instruct your dog to spend his time there. The spot is comfortable, so it could help your pet stay calm. You can also give him a treat or favorite chew toy, as chewing helps dogs relieve stress. Plus, chewing on an appropriate toy will keep him preoccupied while trick-or-treaters occupy your welcome mat.

Niccole Schreck is a rental experience expert for Rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable pet-friendly apartment and provides tips on how to move with your pet. She is also the proud owner of two dogs, Bella and Wallace, and a cat named Frisby.