It’s natural to want to include everyone in our holiday festivities. Over the course of this month we’ve shared several ideas on how to include Fido this month, but the big question remains. Should you take your dog trick-or-treating?

This really depends on your dog. If your dog is easily spooked or hates crowds, trick-or-treating is probably a bad choice. If your dog is a calm and reliable animal who likes socializing, he may enjoy the outing. Here’s a brief questionnaire that will help you determine whether you should take your pup or not. Give yourself one point for each question you can say “yes” to.

  1. My pup enjoys walks and going out with his people.
  2. My dog is not afraid of strangers.
  3. My dog likes children.
  4. My dog does not mind sudden, unsolicited pets.
  5. My dog enjoys wearing a safe costume or will not be wearing a costume.
  6. My pup is not afraid of sudden loud noises or weird costumes.
  7. I have ID on my dog and reflective gear in case he gets lost.

If you answered yes to all of the above, it’s probably safe to take your dog trick-or-treating. You may want to test the waters first though. Try walking your dog at night on an ordinary night, and then have a volunteer in a costume across the street. How does your dog react?

It’s better to find out early how your dog will respond rather than have a panicked pup on your hands and have to either go home or reformulate your plans.

Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating With Your Pup

If you’ve done some test runs and are confident your pup will enjoy going with you, here’s a few tips to make it more enjoyable for you and your dog.

  • Keep Your Dog Leashed

Even if your dog is very well behaved under normal conditions, it’s important to understand that Halloween is not at all normal to them. Check your collar or harness fit before leaving and keep your dog on leash at all times. It takes just one scary moment for your dog to run away in terror.

Reflective collars and leashes can be an additional safety measure as well, as it makes your dog more visible to passing cars.

  • Choose a practical costume

Great costumes include simple collar charm style ones, and t-shirt style that fit comfortably. Avoid costumes with masks or hats as they can be awkward for your dog, or bulky costumes that might catch on things.

  • Look out for children
    This night belongs to children, and they don’t always look where they are going. It’s important to do the looking for them. Steer your dog clear of running kids, and if your dog is little, pick them up if the crowding gets too close.
  • Watch Your Dog
    Kids also aren’t always the greatest at cleaning up after themselves. That trail of candy and wrappers could be viewed as a buffet by your dog. Since many candies are poisonous to your pet, make sure you are paying attention to what your pet is doing when they are on the ground.

Trick-or-treating can be a fun social event for your pet, but shy and aggressive dogs should stay home. You know your dog best. If you are careful and pay close attention to your pet’s needs, they may have a tail-wagging good time going with you.

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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