Halloween Tips for Dogs and Their Owners

Halloween was not made for dogs. Scary costumes, rambunctious kids, unnerving decorations, never-ending doorbells, and loads of dangerous chocolate may be more than your pup can take. Is there any way to get your dog safely through Halloween?

Tip 1: Be Honest About Your Dog’s Temperament

Some dogs frolic and wag their tails during this kind of excitement, while others bark, nip, growl, or even hide. While you may want to socialize your dog to all kinds of human behavior, involving your dog in Halloween is a big leap for most pets. Proceed with caution, and when in doubt, let your dog sit it out.

While an overnight kennel or an evening at your mom’s might not be your first choice for your pup, sometimes taking your dog out of this situation is the best choice for your dog.

While you may want to involve your dog in the festivities, be honest with yourself about his ability to enjoy himself. Will screaming kids and constant doorbells be fun and exciting, or just plain stressful?

For tips on how to find a good dog sitter or kennel, check out this Keystone Puppies blog.


Tip 2: Reconsider the Dog Costume

There are dogs that love dressing up. They enjoy wearing clothes and parading around proudly in costumes. However, those dogs are the exception. Most dogs dislike hats, horns, jackets, or tails, and they are uncomfortable with the extra attention these costumes attract.

Dog costumes are not required, or even expected, of dogs. If you have a friendly dog who enjoys answering the door with you, a simple costume may be appropriate. However, if your dog keeps its distance from strangers and kids in costumes, they may feel uncomfortable, or even threatened, by dog costumes.

Tip 3: Halloween Parties are Not for Dogs

Are you having a get-together for your friends? Will you be entertaining people for Halloween? Any time you have a party at your home, you dramatically increase the likelihood that your dog will suffer from anxiety, behave badly, nip at a guest, or sneak people food while you socialize. If you’re having more than a few people over, you may want to crate or board your pup, for his safety and the safety of your guest. Even a well-behaved dog can lash out when surrounded by over-enthusiastic guests. For tips on how to find a good dog sitter or kennel, check out this Keystone Puppies blog.


Tip 4: Create an Impenetrable Boundary Between Dogs and Candy

By now, most of us know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. Wrappers with bits of chocolate on it can also make dogs sick. While not every candy is deadly, even seemingly benign candies can upset your dog’s tummy. Rover.com published this list of the least and most dangerous Halloween candies for dogs, but the best approach is to keep all candy well out of your pet’s reach at all times since it’s easy to get distracted at parties or while handing out candy to kids.

Tip 5: Don’t Bother Working on the “Stay” Command During Trick or Treating

For some pet owners, the advent of a series of guests at the door (in the form of trick or treaters) seems to provide an ideal opportunity to work on the “stay” command with your pup. However, your excitement, combined with squealing children dressed up in crazy costumes is a difficult situation for your dog to handle. It’s like telling a third grader that trick or treating will be a good time to work on their advanced algebra. It’s just beyond the abilities of a dog-in-training. Unless your dog is already extremely accomplished at the “stay” command, saving the training drills for another time, when there are fewer distractions and fewer variables.

Tip #6: “Celebrate” With Your Dog After the People Have Gone Home

Whether you’ve got party guests, kids in costumes, or trick or treaters at the door, your dog will be stressed during the celebrations. That’s why it’s a good idea to make time for your pup after everyone’s left. Spend extra quiet time with your pet. Use brushing, petting, or snuggling to help him unwind and get centered. Help your dog relax before bedtime, and help him get back to his normal life, if only for a while…because let’s face it, Thanksgiving is just around the corner.


Keystone Puppies wants you to keep your dog and your guests safe this Halloween. The safest strategy is to crate or board your dog during the festivities. Keep your dog away from candy. And while every dog is different, don’t expect him to enjoy dressing up, or seeing people dressed up. If you’re interested in researching over 200 breeds, click here. If you know what kind of puppy you want, start searching for your dream dog by clicking here.

Learn More