Bella the dog in a pumpkin costume Bella the dog in a pumpkin costume

6 Tips for a Dog-Friendly Halloween

Read time: 4 mins

18 Oct 2023

As Halloween approaches, it's the perfect opportunity to revel in the festivities with your precious pup. Let's be honest, nobody cares about what the humans are dressing up as this halloween. If it’s not a dog in a pumpkin costume, we don't want to know.

However, it can be an overly-stimulating time for our pooches and there is always the risk that they may eat something they shouldn’t.

1. Tire Your Dog Out Before the Fun Begins

Before you dive headfirst into the Halloween merriment, you should ensure that your dog has had adequate exercise and is fully prepared to embrace the evening's fun. A well-exercised dog is not just a physically healthier pup, but is often a better behaved and emotionally-balanced one.

We would recommend taking them out much earlier than usual, to avoid the crowds and children in scary costumes. If a long walk isn’t an option, there are other things you can do to put their senses into overdrive, such as:

  • Puzzle toys / snuffle mats

  • Practise commands such as sit, roll over, paw

  • Play fetch indoors

  • Hide and seek with treats

2. Keep Toxic Foods Out of Reach

Halloween indulgence usually results in consuming a scary amount of chocolate and sweets. Besides Christmas and birthdays, it’s one of the only times that you’re less likely to get judged for consuming a family-sized selection bag. 

But, it's important to be aware of the serious risk these treats can have if consumed by your pooch. Chocolate and raisins are two of the most toxic things that your dog could consume, whilst sweets can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

To avoid any of these mishaps, we recommend keeping treats in high cupboards, well out of reach for even the most skilled pups.

If you suspect that your dog may have eaten something they shouldn't have, do not hesitate to contact your Vet for guidance. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Vets Now have a chocolate toxicity calculator that you can use to help gauge whether or not your dog will be affected by the volume they have eaten.

3. Be Aware That Your Dog Might Get Spooked

Pardon the pun, but it is spooky season after all.

Halloween, with its constant doorbell ringing, strangers dressed in scary costumes and the eerie ambiance created by decorations, can indeed be an overwhelming experience for our pups.

You should ensure that they have a safe-space to relax, where they won’t be disrupted throughout the night. This could be a corner of a room upstairs, or in the back of the house, where they’re less likely to hear the doorbell or see anyone.

Make their safe space as comfortable and reassuring as possible by providing them with a bed and/or blanket, toys, water and treats. If you’re not going to be in the room with them, try to check on them every 30 mins or so. 

4. Be Careful with Decorations and Costumes

Light up ghosts, carved pumpkins and paper garlands all make for a well-decorated home at Halloween. Not forgetting a witches-brew scented candle to set the mood. However, not all decorations and costumes are created with your dog's safety in mind, so you should be cautious of this.

Have you got a dog that has a reputation as a serial chewer? Do not leave them unattended with decorations, especially ones that contain electrical wires.

If you’re partial to dressing your pooch up for Halloween, try to purchase a costume that will not be a safety risk. For example, costumes with dangly parts could get caught. Your dog should also be able to move freely whilst in their costume. If their movement is restricted, they are not going to be happy whilst wearing it. Animal Humane Society has some really great tips for choosing safe pet costumes.

5. Reward Good Behaviour

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool which can help create a positive association with Halloween for your dog.

If the doorbell rings and your dog doesn't bark, reward them with a treat. If you drop a sweet, tell your dog to leave it and they do, reward them with a treat. Even just providing verbal reassurance that they’re being a good boy or girl, accompanied with some scratches behind the ears, can help them to feel reassured during this period of chaos.

6. Make Delicious Dog-Friendly Treats

Alongside their delicious Butternut Box meal, there are some dog-friendly Halloween treats you can make so that they can join in on the fun. The Kennel Club has some great recipes, including pupcakes, ghost fancies and pumpkin lollies.

By taking all of these tips into account, you can ensure a spook-tacular Halloween for all. 

Happy Halloween from the Butternut BoOoOx team!