Making Halloween less scary for your dog

 Back to blog
Halloween can be great fun for kids, and big kids too! Dressing up, decorating your house in fake spider webs and going trick or treating. However, for your dog Halloween can be a time of genuine fear or anxiety. 

Let’s take a look at Halloween from your dog’s point of view and ways you can still enjoy the spooky season, without spooking your dog.


Most of us have enjoyed dressing up at some point or other, and at Halloween you can really let your imagination go wild! But does your dog enjoy dressing up as much as you?

The answer is almost certainly not. 

The internet is flooded with pictures of dogs dressed up in all sorts of costumes and the vast majority of them show signs of stress. Sometimes these signs are so subtle they can be easy to miss and people are unaware of just how their dog is feeling. 
Things to look out for include:
  • Tense body
  • Holding tail low (not necessarily fully tucked under)
  • Ears held back close to their head
  • Licking their lips
  • Crouching / lower body posture / weight more on their back legs
  • Holding a paw up
  • Yawning when not tired
  • Turning head away 
  • Not directly facing the thing they’re looking at

The best way to ensure your dog is happy is to leave the dressing up to the humans.

Trick or treaters knocking on your door

Whether visitors are a source of excitement or dread for your dog, people knocking at your door is going to mean a less calm evening for your dog. And this could play havoc with their stress bucket for days to come.

Learn more about your dog’s stress bucket here.
If you're expecting lots of trick or treaters, consider setting your dog up in a quiet part of the house away from the front door to minimise their exposure.

It could also be beneficial to provide your dog with a calming activity to keep them occupied, such as a stuffed KONG or long lasting chew. 

Or even better still, you could put up a sign on your door asking people not to knock or ring the doorbell. Leave a selection of treats by your front door for people to help themselves to instead. 

Here’s a link to download the sign I use on my door at Halloween.

Chocolate & sweets

Whether you’re preparing for trick or treaters visiting, or your own children have come home with their pockets full of treats, there is a greater chance of your dog having access to chocolates and sweets during Halloween.

If your dog were to get into your stash it could end up with a very scary trip to the vets. And nobody wants that. 
Chocolate contains theobromine, which is a chemical similar to caffeine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs, and is especially dangerous in large quantities. The amount of theobromine found in chocolate varies, however plain (dark) chocolate contains the highest concentrations. 

Some sweets, especially sugar free ones, contain a sweetener called xylitol (also known as birch sugar). This is extremely toxic to dogs and can be fatal if ingested, even in small amounts.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten any chocolate or sweets, get veterinary advice immediately. 

You could contact the Animal Poison Line which is a 24 hour telephone service. After providing them with details about your dog, what they ate, how much, how long ago etc they will be able to calculate the risk to your dog and let you know whether you need to go to your vet. 

Although a paid for service, the Animal Poison Line could save you a very expensive vet fee, especially if it’s outside of your vet’s normal hours.  

To keep your dog safe, make sure you keep all chocolate and sweets out of their reach.
Wishing you and your dog a spook-tacular Halloween!
Created with