We love Halloween, and we love dressing up our dogs up for Halloween. But the truth is, most dogs are really freaked out by this holiday. Between the costumes, candy, doorbell ringing, and overall heightened excitement, it’s no wonder dogs are not down with Halloween. Luckily, you can have a fun and dog-friendly Halloween with a few precautions!
How to have dog-friendly Halloween festivities
It’s important for all of us to recognize that Halloween is a frightening night for dogs. In addition to costumed humans, if you live in a kid-friendly place, you probably have a lot of strangers knocking on your door. Or maybe you are hosting a costume party so all sorts of disfigured and oddly shaped strangers are roaming about your house. There are just certain things you should and shouldn’t do with your dog this Halloween.
Dangerous Halloween-Dog Combos:
Candles are dangerous for your dog! The last thing we want to happen is for our little guy to get into our friend Jack-o-lantern and come face-to-face with a candle. Consider using battery-operated candles to light your pumpkins.
It’s the perfect time of year to dress your pup up to be your sidekick. You’ll want to be careful, though! Make sure the costume you choose for your dog does not obstruct it’s breathing or seeing! In addition, you will want to stay away from fur dyes! Even dyes that are non-toxic to humans still could potentially be dangerous for your canine.
You’ll also want to keep your costume out of their sight! Halloween costumes can be an easy chew toy for your dog and one they may even swallow and choke on!
We use glow sticks to light up our pumpkins, or even add a spooky glow to our home décor. Our little canines put themselves in danger when they chew or puncture a glow stick. The chemicals in a glow stick can cause pain and irritation to the mouth eventually leading to drooling and foaming at the mouth.
Trick or treat! Who’s there? It’s a Halloween tradition to open your door to guests. Keep your canine in a secure location of the house to avoid any chance of them running away!
When it comes to candy wrappers, there are couple of things that can happen. First, when a pet gets their paws on candy, they forget to take off the wrapper before taking the first bite. Your pup can also come across a wrapper without any candy and eat it because the smell from the candy is left on the wrapper. When your dog ingests candy wrappers, the foil and cellophane can cause life-threatening obstruction!
Conclusion: Give your dog space
Unless your dog is desensitized to strangers and costumes, you’ll want to give them their own space. Make it a dog-friendly Halloween by having your dog relax in a secure backroom equipped with water and food. Make sure people are not allowed to go in or out of that room. That way your dog will not be privy to all of the commotion.
Securing your dog in a back area also prevents your dog from accidentally consuming Halloween treats. Candy corn and hard candies can make dogs very ill while chocolate is life-threatening.
If you don’t have a secure place in your home, you may want to have your dog stay with a friend or at an overnight dog care facility.
Dressing Up Your Dog
With safety out of the way, let’s get to the business of making our dogs look adorable (or scary) on Halloween. To our benefit, dogs do not grasp this idea of costumes and are more annoyed with the functionality than what it might look like. So feel free to choose a fairy, bumblebee or zombie and it will make no difference to your dog.
The trick is to find a costume that your dog will want to stay in. So if your dog doesn’t like hoods or hats on his head, then choose a costume that doesn’t have those features.
The same goes for construction. Some dogs will gladly walk around in a cape but will freak out if you try to stick their hind legs in pants.
Test out a few types of costumes to make sure you have one that is comfortable for your dog. Otherwise, your dog will spend the entire time trying to pull the costume off – and that’s no way to have a fun, dog-friendly Halloween.
Tips & Tricks for Photographing Your Dog
Prepare! Dogs are especially impatient during photo shoots. Don’t ask your dog to pose until everything is set up. That includes taking a few practice shots to ensure the lighting and background is ready.
It takes two people to take a dog photo: a handler (someone to hold treats or a favorite toy) and the photographer. Make sure you have a game plan in place prior to bringing your dog on set. You don’t want to be arguing about how to get the dog to focus on the lens during the shoot or else your model (dog) will walk off set.
Be patient. Think of yourself as a wildlife photographer quietly and patiently hiding in the bush in an effort to capture the perfect shot of an elusive animal species. Dogs circle around, sniff, look in the opposite direction of where the handler is pointing, lie down randomly (with their butt towards the camera), yawn, scratch, jump, paw at the floor, bite at their costume, try to crawl away, etc. Your job is to stay focused and ready with the camera to capture the exact moment that they look into the lens.
Be ready for all sorts of reactions to the costumes.
Here are some of the most common reactions that we’ve seen over the years:
- They freeze. They don’t like the movement of the fabric so they turn into a statue. It ends up being easy to take the perfect shot except that you’ll just get that one look (and typically not a happy one).
- They frantically try to take the costume off. It is extremely difficult to get a clean shot when your dog is feverishly ripping apart the costume. You might want to try another costume or make the action part of the gig.
- They refuse to sit down while wearing their costume. It’s not the worst. Just don’t ask them to sit, and you can get a few memorable shots.
- They are super jazzed about those treats. Dogs that love treats can react one of two ways. They may be really great about sitting and posing to get that treat. But they might also get so worked up over the food that they jump on the handler, lick the camera, or go through their repertoire of tricks on rapid-fire. In short, they are a mess. When we get a dog like this, we change the camera to Sports Mode, click away and hope for one decent shot.
Lastly – Be sure to have fun! Whether your dog is frozen stiff or posing pretty, you’re going to have a good laugh.
Need more photography tips? Check out our full guide to posing your dog for Halloween pictures here.
Once you get the perfect picture, make sure you submit it for our annual Howl-O-Ween costume contest! Follow along on our instagrams, @fitdogclubs and @fitdogsports, and use hashtag #FitdogHowloween21 to check out all of the entries.
We hope you can have an awesome and safe dog-friendly Halloween!
Post updated from its original format on 9/17/2021.