Halloween Tips for Your Dog

Dogs love tricks and treats, so here are some tips for a fun and safe Halloween to keep their tails wagging!


If your dog is accustomed to wearing coats, sweaters, and even dresses or sunglasses during the rest of the year, you are going to have a blast dressing your “fur kid” up for Halloween. Countless costumes are for sale at pet supply stores, pet boutiques, Internet pet sites, and even grocery and department stores. Fairy princess or wicked witch, cheerleader or Superdog, cowboy or cow—you can turn your dog into anything this time of year. With just a tiny bit of creativity, you can also make your own costume for your dog. Here are some ideas to do it yourself:

  • Think about a costume that fits your dog’s personality. Some dogs look perfect in an angel costume, while others seem to fit devil outfit to a tee.
  • Dress in a theme with your dog. Maybe you and your significant other can don fake fur tunics and go as Fred and Wilma Flintstone; put your Shih Tzu in her own leopard print tunic, tie a plastic bone into her topknot—and you’ve got Pebbles!
  • Think about dog themes, too. Maybe you have a little male scruffy terrier mix, and your friend has an Afghan Hound. Your little guy just needs a vest and a peace necklace to be Sonny Bono (hey, he already has the chest hair!) and a long black wig and some sequins turns the Afghan into Cher.
  • Another good choice: Dress your dogs as bride and groom. A simple veil and a white tunic for your girl and a tuxedo costume for your boy, and you’ve got costumed bliss. One friend who did this even made a garter for her girl dog’s thigh.
  • Some dogs just love to wear costumes and seem meant to wear them. Take Pugs for example. They seem made to wear anything fun you can find. Put your Pug in a pink tutu, and it’s funny—always.
  • Every Dachshund makes an appropriate hot dog on Halloween (just add buns).
  • Every diva knows a simple tiara is always appropriate (Halloween or not!).

Throw a Howl-O-Ween Party!

Invite your dog’s little buddies over for a bash! Play games like “bobbing for hotdogs” (instead of bobbing for apples) and “catch the corn” (see which dog can catch the most pieces of unbuttered popcorn in a minute). Have a costume contest. Hold a “Best Trick” contest (the winner earns a treat!). Ask everyone to bring cookies made for dogs—and don’t forget some tasty snacks for the humans, too!


While Halloween can be great fun, it can also pose serious dangers for your dog. Lots of dogs are frightened when hordes of small children come knocking at the door, demanding candy. Heck, it scares me a little bit, too. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind on Halloween:


That chocolate warning applies at Halloween, too. Also, tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if your little dog swallows them.


Pumpkins with candles inside are dangerous. Your dog could knock your pumpkin over and start a fire. Use caution, and consider a battery operated light inside your Jack-o-lantern if you have a very rambunctious little dog.


Unless your dog is an absolute social butterfly, keep him in a separate room when the trick-or-treaters come to the door. Even a kid-size Frankenstein looks pretty scary to a tiny dog.

Door Dashing

Have a system to prevent door dashing. Whether you have a dog who’s frightened, or one who wants to follow the kids, Halloween is a big night for dogs escaping from home. Leave your dog in a separate room or hold him in your arms (if he’s very social). Don’t give him the option of dashing out the door.


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