Halloween is a great time of scary costumes, haunted houses and candy. Children love to go door to door for trick or treating.  Many times, our dogs are asked to go along or are left at home to hear the doorbell ringing repeatedly.  There are loud children and scary noises and lights.  This excitement may be very overstimulating for your dogs.  The dogs can get scared and run out the open door.   Be sure to keep your pets in mind during this busy but fun evening.

Costumes for your dog? What do your dogs think?  Keep these pointers in mind before putting a costume on your dog.

  1. A costume can be frightening or annoying to the dog.  Especially if he is already stressed.  Make sure the costume is loose fitting and won’t make the dog uncomfortable.
  2. Be careful with elastic. The elastic may be too tight and cause swelling to an area that can be very painful.  Elastic can also pull the dog’s hair which is painful.
  3. Some costumes have pieces hanging off them and can cause tripping hazards.
  4. Do not put paint directly on your dog.
  5. Some dogs will try to eat their costumes so keep a close watch on them.
  6. Masks can interfere with a dog’s vision and or ability to breathe. It is best to avoid anything covering the dog’s face.

What to do with the nervous frightened dog?

It is best to keep your dog crated and away from the door during trick or treating.  Frightened dogs can bolt out the door and get lost or get hit by a car.  If your dog has the tendency to become very anxious, talk to your veterinarian prior to Halloween about some anti-anxiety medication.

Do not let your dog outside to go to the bathroom during the busy trick or treating time.  Gates can be left open and dogs can jump fences.  Frightened dogs can run.

Know your dog’s temperament before choosing to take your dog trick or treating.  Happy children running around can cause anxiety which could ultimately lead to a bite.  There may be other dogs out as well, which may or may not be friendly.  Costumes can be frightening to dogs which could lead to a fearful response such as a bite.  It is usually best to leave your dog at home.


Candy is very enticing to dogs.  Chocolate is toxic and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, pancreatitis and death.  Some candy now contains Xylitol, an artificial sweetener.  Xylitol can cause your dog’s blood sugar to drop which can lead to seizures and death.  It is recommended to keep the candy out of the dog’s reach.  Remember, golden retrievers can be counter surfers so keep all candy put away.  If your dog eats any candy, he should be taken to a veterinarian for further treatment.


Everyone loves those carved pumpkins and the fake cobwebs.  Candles in the jack-o’-lanterns can easily get knocked over by rambunctious children or fearful dogs and cause a fire.  Dogs may let their curiosity get the better of them and stick their faces in a jack-o’-lantern and get burned.  Stuffed decorations are a great toy and can easily get destuffed and ingested.  Other decorations could be a choking hazard.

Holidays are fun times.  Always remember to look out for your dog to him safe.  Don’t let an emergency spoil your fun.