Every October, children around the neighborhood put on their best costumes and celebrate Halloween. This holiday is a favorite for kids and adults alike, and folks often love to include their dogs in the celebration as well. For a fun Halloween for both people and pets, it's important to keep a few things in mind. Here are a few safety tips that every dog owner should know this autumn:


Chocolate and Sweets are Not for Pets

All types of chocolate, including dark chocolate, is toxic and sometimes even deadly to dogs. Because of dogs' excellent sense of smell, be sure to keep all chocolate and candy out of reach of dogs, not just out of sight. Remember, chocolate poisoning is not something to take lightly. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures, and need immediate medical attention. Even candy that doesn't contain chocolate can be dangerous. Many candies contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is also toxic to dogs. Dogs can still celebrate with healthy pet treats, of course, which is always an excellent alternative to human treats.


Keep Pumpkins Out of Reach

Pumpkins and other typical autumn decorations such as cornstalks or hay do a great job making homes spooky for trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, they aren't as fun for dogs. Although they aren't poisonous, they can cause stomach upset or intestinal blockage. Another reason to keep pumpkins out of reach is that candles or electric lights are often involved, and neither is something a dog owner wants their pup to play with.


Be Careful With the Costumes

Some dogs love to be dressed up, but for others, it's a stressful experience. Be sure to try on any costume before the big night to make sure the dog is comfortable and happy wearing it. A good costume won't limit the dog's movement or ability to see, hear, or breathe. Owners should supervise their costumed dogs in case the outfit should break or become loose. There are also plenty of great Halloween ideas out there for dogs who don't like a full costume, so don't force it if the dog doesn't enjoy wearing one. Get creative and experiment with patterned bandanas or a collar clip-on.


Give the Dog a Safe Space

Even the most well-trained dog might become unpredictable when visitors in strange costumes coming to the door every few minutes. Dogs might get overexcited or nervous. Because of this, it's a good idea to keep an eye on them throughout the night and make sure they have a safe spot in the house to retreat to if they want to. It might also be a good idea to keep overly excitable dogs on a leash for the night, which will prevent them from jumping up on trick-or-treaters or even trying to run out the door.


Halloween is a fantastic time for making memories with friends, both human and animal. Whether it's a dog's first Halloween or they're a seasoned veteran, the best treat anyone can give their dog is a safe and fun holiday.