How to Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

If you have a young pet or if you recently adopted your dog or cat, you may be unsure about how he'll behave on Halloween. Will he try to get into the candy? Will he be scared of kids in costumes? Will he try to eat the jack-o'-lantern?

Wondering how to keep your dog safe on Halloween? The following are some tips to keep in mind for keeping your dog or cat safe on Oct. 31.

Halloween Safety Tips

1. Your dog could get protective.

Your dog won't necessarily understand that the big kid in a gorilla suit is harmless. He might even view people in costumes as threats and could therefore act aggressively even if he's normally friendly. Use common sense, and don't put your dog in a position where he's uncomfortable and could potentially bite "Spider-Man." Leave him in his kennel if necessary when people come to the door.

2. Use caution if you walk your dog.

I actually love walking my dog on Halloween because he's very social and does not seem fazed by all the strange costumes. However, if your dog is normally startled by people wearing big coats, people wearing hats or kids carrying backpacks, you can assume he'll be terrified of people dressed as monsters and witches! If that's the case, you're better off skipping the walk that day or walking in the morning instead of the evening.

If you do need to walk your dog, keep in mind that people seem to have more courage when they're in costumes. This makes them more likely to reach out and try to pet a passing dog (usually without asking first). Be aware of this so you can prevent your dog from getting startled. Leave extra space between yourself and others so your dog is more comfortable. Also make sure to use an appropriate dog collar your dog won't slip out of such as a harness or a martingale collar.

3. Double check where you leave the candy.

If you leave the house, make sure the candy is placed where your dog absolutely can't reach it. That might mean you have to put your dog in his kennel. Or it might mean stashing the candy in a top cupboard. And don't underestimate what your cat might get into! My cat will try to eat just about any type of candy. It's obviously not good for him, and some types of candy can even be dangerous for pets to eat.

Also double check to make sure all candles, including jack-o'-lantern candles, are blown out before leaving the house. Even when you're home, you'll really want to supervise those clumsy tails and paws around candles.

4. Put ID tags on all your pets.

With trick-or-treaters coming to the door dressed as who knows what, you just never know what could startle your dog or cat and cause either to bolt out the door. For safety reasons, make sure they're wearing updated pet ID tags with your most recent phone number and address. People sometimes make the mistake of waiting too long before updating a pet's tags.

5. Leave your dog in a safe place.

I normally leave my dog loose in the house while I"m gone, but on Halloween I know the doorbell could ring non-stop. So, if I leave on Halloween, I put my dog in a back bedroom where it's quieter and less stressful for him. If your dog is especially stressed out by the sound of the doorbell or knocking, consider leaving some music or a TV on to block out some of the noise. You might also want to consider leaving your cat in a quieter part of the house if he's sensitive to noise.

How do your pets normally act on Halloween?