Greeted by groans from some who remember when the most we ever did was a bit of apple bobbing at Brownies, to modern day mass dressing up and garden decorations and big parties, Hallowe’en is here!
Our dogs must think we are crazy, changing appearance with masks and costumes and facepaint too. It can be fun for us, but they could find it terrifying in a way we would not welcome. Here are my tips to help them have fun without the spooky scares.
1) Trick or treat!
Sweets, sweets and more sweets. If your children come home with a huge assortment of goodies, put them out of reach from the dog. With all the excitement it is easy to leave a trick or treater’s cauldron of chocolate that will land your dog at the Vets with cocoa poisoning, or at best a stomach upset if they eat it. Make sure sweet wrappers are also put straight into an inaccessible bin. Dogs often don’t mind eating the paper even if the sweet has long since been consumed by a human.
2) Scary faces, scary places.
I once helped a family whose dog panicked at the twilight knock at the door from trick or treaters. He ran to the door and bit the child visiting, giving the poor kid an unexpected fright that Hallowe’en. If you do not normally have visitors after dark, especially not ones dressed as Dracula, keep your dog shut away with a nice tasty chew to keep him busy instead.
3) Dressing up disasters.
Your dog may not appreciate your sudden transformation into a Werewolf (a bit close to their ancestors, maybe) so don’t aim to deliberately scare him. Take the mask off and let him sniff it, let him hear that it is you, but most of all if he appears at all worried, settle him away from the excitement or don’t wear the mask when your dog is about!
4) Walk your dog in daylight.
There are likely to be plenty of little trick or treaters wandering about in the dusk, so try to give your dog a good walk earlier than normal so he does not need to meet and greet them. It will also help you remain vigilant for dropped sweets and chocolate that your dog may otherwise hoover up in the dark.
5) Doggy costumes.
Are you dressing your little devil up as a little devil? Make sure if you have chosen a costume for your dog that they do not mind wearing it! I admit my dogs will be dressing up – just a bit – this Hallowe’en. We found some soft fleece dog coats that have a special design, so they feel no different to their normal winter coats worn on cold days. The important part is that the dogs will feel no different to any normal day, and will attract nothing but smiles and doggy treats.
So, if you happen upon a mini canine swarm of Bumble bees, being walked by a Harley Quinn lookalike, that will be us. Boo!