Halloween is probably one of the most anticipated holidays for both children and adults. However, this fun and treat-filled holiday can also mean harm and danger, particularly when the dog is included in the trick-or-treating. There are two parts of Halloween. One part is answering the door to trick or treaters and the other part is being the trick or treater. With Halloween right around the corner, here are a few tips on how to keep your dog safe whether he or she will be with you at home or out in the neighborhood.

Trick or Treating with Your Dog

Remembering these simple guidelines can make Halloween trick or treating a safe and fun experience for both you and your dog.

• Keep the candy and treats away from your dog.
• Do not encourage or allow strangers to pet your dog.
• Keep your dog on a leash AT ALL TIMES.
• Keep your dog away from lit candles or pumpkins.
• Bring along a bag in case your dog relieves him or herself.

Unless your dog is extremely calm and friendly, your best bet would be to leave it at home. However, if you believe it will be an enjoyable time for both of you or you or just don’t wish to leave him or her at home, take every step possible to make it enjoyable. Costumes look adorable on dogs but only if the dog is comfortable. If you’re planning on dressing up your dog, start doing it a few times and days before the actual event. This will give you an opportunity to see how the dog fdog dressed as lady gagaares in a costume and give the dog a chance to get used to the costume.

Everything you’ve ever heard about candy, particularly chocolate, being bad for dogs is true so don’t give your dogs any of the treats you’ve managed to collect. You never really know what ingredients are in the treats, especially ingredients that may be harmful to pets. This is particularly true for homemade treats, which you yourself shouldn’t even consider eating unless you know the individual personally. Your dog may be happy and more comfortable if your bring along some doggie treats.

When you consider how scary some costumes are to you and little kids, just imagine what’s going through a dog’s mind when they first encounter many kids in costumes. Dogs are very protective of their owners and may become aggressive if they feel their owners are being threatened. They may also run if they feel threatened.

Regardless of how friendly and mellow your dog may be, keep him or her on a lease at all times and avoid letting others pet the dog. Consider trick or treating in a neighborhood already familiar to your dog.

Some of the most beautifully decorated homes are the result of decorations lit up by candles or electricity. Dogs are inquisitive creatures by nature so keep your dog away from these types of things to avoid the temptation to chew or lick.

Greeting Trick or Treaters with Your Dog

Your home is your castle and your dog’s job is to protect you and your home. Many normally friendly dogs become almost aggressive when greeted by loud, screaming children dressed in costumes. Regardless of how friendly and loving your dog may be under normal circumstances, keep in mind that his or her ultimate job (at least in the dog’s mind) is to protect you. Their first instinct, when faced with what they may perceive as a threat, may be to become protective.

If you have relatives that often enter your home unannounced and without knocking, encourage them ahead of time to announce their arrival so you can make sure the dog is contained and not ready to pounce on your guests. A loud barking dog can also be very scary and intimidating to young children, and even adults, so keeping the dog in another room may be wise.

Taking as many measures as possible to ensure you and your dog are safe is the best way you both can enjoy the Halloween season whether at home or out in your neighborhood.