Halloween Dog Bite Prevention Tips
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Halloween is lots of fun for kids, but many dogs will be confused or upset by kids in strange costumes and by lots of people coming to the door, but never being invited in. Doggone Safe offers the following tips for dog owners, kids and parents:
- Secure your dog behind a closed door or in a crate in a room away from the front door or the party if children are meeting at your house.
- Give him a stuffed Kong or other long lasting chew.
- Play music or leave a TV or radio playing in the dog’s room to help mask the sounds of the activity at the front door.
- Close drapes so that the dog does not see people coming and going through the window.
- If you have a dog that barks at the sound of the doorbell, disconnect it or watch for trick-or-treaters so that they do not have to ring or knock.
- Puppies and dogs that like to chase can get overly excited by costumes with dangly bits or streaming material. Supervise very carefully if you have a dog that may try to play with your children’s costumes while they are wearing them. Teach kids to Be a Tree and stand still if the dog does start nipping at their costume since the more they move, the more exited the dog will get.
- Keep your dogs (and cats) indoors around Halloween time. Pets have been stolen, injured or poisoned as part of Halloween pranks or other rituals.
- Dog's don't like to be dressed up! It makes them anxious and uncomfortable and adds to the stress of an already stressful time. If your dog, licks his chops, yawns, shows a half moon of white in his eye, turns away, doesn't co-operate, tries to escape, growls, puts his teeth on you or the costume, then you know that he doesn't want to wear the costume. Try a fancy collar or bandanna instead, or just leave the dog out of Halloween if he'd rather not participate.
Kids and Parents:
- Avoid houses if you can hear a dog barking behind the door, you can see a dog behind a screen door or you see a dog tied up in the yard or barking behind a fence.
- Never approach any dog, even if you know him. He may not recognize you in your costume.
- If an owner opens the door and there is a dog there, just stay still and wait for the dog owner to put the dog away. You can tell them you do not want to come near the dog. Do not move toward the person and dog. Wait for them to come to you to give you your candy. Wait for them to close the door before you turn and leave.
- If a dog escapes just stand still and Be a Tree (hands folded in front, watching your feet). He will just sniff you and then move on. Wait for the owner to come and get the dog before you turn away.
- If you meet a loose dog, Be a Tree and wait until it goes away.
- It is best to ignore other people’s dogs on Halloween if you meet them out walking. The dog may be worried about all the strange creatures that are out and about. Even if you know the dog, he may not recognize you in your costume.
Doggone Safe wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween!
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Click here for this handout in French
Halloween and Hounds
By Jennifer Shryock
Halloween is "fright night" for humans not dogs. Screaming, running, spooky children in masks make many dogs uncomfortable, nervous and frightened.
Halloween costumes are fun and are meant to disguise our normal appearance. Dogs do not understand this change in appearance and may become frightened. Costumes that change the way a person walks, stands, or their general appearance may cause a dog to react differently than usual even with those they know.
Keep in mind that children on Halloween night are excited and doing their best to be scary. This is not a fair or safe situation to put even the best of dogs in. Even the normally terrific tolerant family dog can find this night hard to handle.
Along with costumes being frightening to a dog there are some that may become interesting too. Swords, tails and dangling things may be fun for an excited dog to chase and toddlers certainly won’t appreciate that. Click here to see a photo of a costume with very enticing antennae.
Every child and every costume is a new opportunity for different reactions from the same dog.
I recommend setting up your dog with their own private Halloween bash in a safe quiet spot with a yummy treat of their own. Here are some tips to help make this safe haven most comfortable.
- Stuff a food dispensing toy with yummy mush and freeze it until it is "Halloween" time.
- Use a fan or radio for white noise. Something consistent is best.
- Be sure the blinds are down or the dog is not watching kids coming and going by the window. This will only frustrate him and allow him to practice barking and carrying on at the window.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Put candy in a safe spot.
Sometimes dogs are stolen, poisoned or injured by Halloween pranks. Keep your dog safe and sound inside your home.
Be safe and aware and have fun!
For more information on kid and dog safety on Halloween, check out www.familypaws.com
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