Trick or Treat: The Dos and Don’ts of Halloween for Dogs

    • 5 min read

    Chopper & Otis Halloween 2016

    Fall is here, and with it comes cooler weather, pumpkin season, and of course, Halloween! When it comes to our furry companions, Halloween is a spooky time where you can have some seriously picturesque moments with your dog and family. 

    But before you embark on those pictures in the pumpkin patch with your dog’s latest costume, remember that Halloween isn’t all ghosts, ghouls, and fun. Here are the dos and don’ts of Halloween for dogs.


    We can all agree that dressing up is one of the best parts of Halloween. And whether you plan on including your dog in the costume-wearing festivities or not, there are a few things to keep in mind as the 31st of October approaches.


    • Keep all costume props and delicate materials out of your dog’s reach.
    • Invest in props and toys designed just for dogs.
    • Use organic, durable costumes for your dog if you decide to dress your dog up.
    • Only put your pup in a costume if you know he likes to wear clothes and is comfortable.


    • Leave any costumes where your dog can access them.
    • Put your dog in uncomfortable clothes where she can’t see, breathe well, or move freely.
    • Wear loose beads, glitter, or other decorative embellishments that can break off or fall on the ground.
    • Use face paint, dyes, or other human products on your pet.


    Giant spider webs? Skeletons lurking in your yard? Jack-o’-lanterns? All of these decorations may seem like the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit, but when it comes to dogs, they can all pose safety hazards that endanger your pet. 

    Halloween decorations are often made with cheap plastic and other materials that dogs should not play with or ingest. While pure pumpkin is safe for dogs and can make for delicious treats and meals, raw gourds of any kind should be kept away from pets; if your dog gets his paws on raw squash, he could choke on seeds or get a bellyache. 

    Dogs dress up as ghosts for halloween

    That said, here are some doggy dos and don’ts of Halloween decorations:


    • Keep decorations out of your dog’s reach.
    • Consider dog-friendly decorations, such as high-hanging lights, wreaths, and flame-free jack-o’-lanterns. 


    • Leave pumpkins, fire-burning jack-o’-lanterns and candles, corn cobs, bones, lighting, and other hazardous decorations where your dog has access to them.
    • Use noisy, motion-activated props. If they can scare kids, then they can scare dogs, whose ears are super sensitive and trained eyes are set to perceive fast-moving figures as threats.


    If you’re planning on attending a Halloween event this year, remember that your dog is safest and happiest when left at home. All of the crazy costumes, eerie yard decorations, and people walking from house to house might confuse your pup, even if she can’t tell you just how scared she is. 

    With this in mind, here’s what you need to know about keeping dogs safe during Halloween activities.


    • Keep your dog at home and away from trick-or-treaters. 
    • Create a quiet space for your dog to stay if ringing doorbells or people knocking on the door cause stress to your pet.
    • Turn on the tv in a secluded room with your dog’s bed to give him a place to get away from all of the Halloween commotion.
    • Secure all gates and fences for when your pet needs to go outside.
    • Ensure your dog is wearing a collar with an up-to-date ID tag or microchip. 


    • Take your dog with you as you go trick-or-treating. Doorbells, noisy decorations, other dogs, and kids in spooky costumes running around can all frighten your dog.
    • Keep your pet in the backyard; door-to-door visitors may lead dogs to bark and bark in distress.
    • Go to an event with loud music, flashing lights, and other stimulating effects with your dog. 

    Pug with full treat bag for halloween 


    Though your dog might longingly eye candy and other leftover goodies from Halloween, do your dog a favor and avoid giving her artificial candy or other treats designed for people. In fact, the safest Halloween treats for dogs are the ones you make at home from clean ingredients like pure pumpkin puree or dog safe peanut butter. 

    Here are some safety tips for Halloween treats and dogs:


    • Keep candy and other human treats away from your dog (even if he gives you the puppy-dog face!)
    • Have alternatives to candies available so that your dog isn’t missing out on the Halloween treats.
    • Throw away wrappers, as the crinkly sounds may excite your doggo and prompt him to chew on them.
    • Keep an eye out for litter around the yard and while you take your dog on walks on the days following Halloween.
    • Have the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center phone number on hand in case your dog accidentally consumes something harmful: (888) 426-4435


    • Give your dog any type of food that isn’t safe for dogs.
    • Leave dogs unsupervised with children, as kids may be tempted to feed their candy to family pets.
    • Let your dog chew on bones, as bones are one of many seemingly harmless dog chew toys that can pose hazards to your dog’s teeth, gums, tongue, and stomach.
    • Leave candy where your dog can reach it (this may mean putting candy on a high shelf if your dog is big enough to access countertops or tables).


    All of the “don’ts” might make it seem like dogs can’t have fun on Halloween, but that doesn’t have to be the case! Remember, your dog can also partake in this haunted holiday, so long as you have pet safety in mind. 

    One of the best ways to incorporate Halloween into your dog’s October is through dog-friendly toys. Check out these tips on what to do and what not to do when it comes to dog toys.


    • Offer your dog safe Fall and Halloween dog toys.
    • Introduce your dog to new Halloween toys before Halloween so that your pet isn’t overstimulated come the 31st. 
    • Consider placing new toys in your dog’s safe space so that toys feel familiar and comforting—but still novel and engaging—by the time Halloween approaches.


    • Give your dog toys made for children.
    • Use costume props or other fun Halloween gadgets that aren’t designed for dogs as a substitute for a durable dog toy.

    Not sure what toys to get for your dog? We put together a bundle that is designed for a fun Halloween for dogs.

    Spooktacular Halloween Bundle

    The Spooktacular Halloween Bundle comes with an adorable corn-on-the-cob chew toy, a jack-o’-lantern rubber treat dispenser, and a soft and fluffy Duraplush bat.

    Start the day with the treat-dispensing jack-o’-lantern before the trick-or-treating begins. Your dog will love chewing on the corn on the cob in a quiet room away from the front door or tucked away in a crate when you’re ready to leave the house for a short walk around the block. 

    Chewing reduces a dog's anxiety while giving your furry friend something to do as people come knocking on the door for a trick or treat. You can also smear peanut butter inside or place cheese or soft food on the corn for added value for pups. Finally, after the evening activity calms down, cuddle with the Duraplush bat and give your pup lots of hugs and kisses.

    Have A Happy & Safe Halloween!!

    Happy Halloween 

    Until next time--