by Soojin Um
Staff Writer

halloween-2870607_1920Halloween is almost upon us. For many people, children and adults alike, this is their favorite holiday of the year. What’s not to love? You get to dress up in your favorite costumes, go trick-or-treating for free candy, and share them with all your friends at a sleepover. Oh, and that’s why children love it as well.  For dogs, it may not be all fun and games. Sure, they may all agree that Halloween is infinitely better than all the loud fireworks of the Fourth of July. However, having a constant stream of people in scary costumes and makeup knocking on the door certainly won’t be a pleasant picnic for most dogs. Well, for those pups, we have some tips that might make it a little easier for them, and you. Let’s get started.

First and foremost, you should keep your dogs indoors during the trick-or-treating hours, preferably in the den or downstairs, anywhere where they can be away from the front door. Most dogs are sociable and friendly, but even those dogs’ patience could get tested by a knock on the door every few minutes. You can also try to get your dog conditioned to the knocks and doorbells by going outside and knocking and ringing. Some dogs might get used to it and not mind, but for other dogs, it may exacerbate the problem. So it’s your call, depending on your dog’s personality and disposition.

shutterstock_688080844Another reason to keep your dogs indoors and away from people is for their own protection. There’s a reason why they call it “trick or treat” – it’s because some people do resort to tricks, taking the term quite literally. Most people might mean it as a joke, but some do take it too far. People have been known to scare or harm animals as part of Halloween activities. Often, it may just be a joke or prank. However, you never know with some people, especially if they intend to harm animals. It just might be best served if you keep your dogs out of any possible harm’s way. Sometimes, it’s better to overprotect rather than be sorry.

It’s also important to remember that while dogs can scare people, people can scare dogs just as much. During Halloween, where people are dressed in masks and costumes, and one of the purposes of the holiday itself is to be spooky, dogs can be affected by this and not in a good way. A scared dog can easily become an aggressive dog, trying to protect themselves from what they see as a threat. If you see signs that your dog might be afraid or agitated, it might be best to take them to a safe, quiet room in your home. It might also be a good idea at that point to stop participating in the trick-or-treating.

pumpkin-costume-988866_1920Halloween is a fun time of the year for many people, and indeed for most dogs as well. It’s a break in the daily routine, and most dogs enjoy interacting with new people. It’s also festive and exciting, and dogs can pick up on that. However, even fun times can be too much for the senses. For some rescue dogs, for example, it may also bring up unwanted memories. To keep the day as enjoyable as possible for you, it’s advisable to make sure your dogs are enjoying it too. A fun time for all – that’s what it’s all about. So keep in mind your pooch, and have a great Halloween!

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