Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do Christmas
Planning a festive trip to London this year? These hotels really know how to do...

Sarah Finnan

16 great prints and posters to add some life to your walls
16 great prints and posters to add some life to your walls

Megan Burns

‘Mummy has cancer’: How to talk to children about a parent’s diagnosis
‘Mummy has cancer’: How to talk to children about a parent’s diagnosis

Amanda Cassidy

15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween
15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween

Grace McGettigan

Bringing unsexy back: putting the freaky back into Halloween
Bringing unsexy back: putting the freaky back into Halloween

Jessie Collins

15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs
15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs

Grace McGettigan

The importance and benefits of alone time
The importance and benefits of alone time

Niamh Ennis

The best street style from Paris Fashion Week
The best street style from Paris Fashion Week

Holly O'Neill

I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my 15 favourites
I spent the last month binging rom-coms on Netflix and Amazon Prime: Here are my...

Lauren Heskin

‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned
‘Last century’s witch is this century’s SL*T’ – Why unruly women will always be damned

Geraldine Carton

Image / Self

8 Halloween safety tips for dog owners


by Grace McGettigan
08th Oct 2020

8 Halloween safety tips for dog owners

8 Halloween safety tips for dog owners

8 Halloween safety tips for dog owners

Halloween is often a terrifying time for dogs. Here are eight ways to ensure your dog is as happy and comfortable as possible this October


Halloween is often a terrifying time for dogs. Not only can fireworks overwhelm their sensitive ears, but the incessant knocking of trick or treaters at the door (not to mention the flicker of bonfire flames) can be extremely frightening.

Christopher and Bridgeen Hanlon, the duo behind Werewolf Food, Ireland’s first subscription-based dog food, have come up with eight ways to help care for your pet this October 31. With 20 years’ experience in dog training and dog nutrition, there’s no doubt they know their stuff.

Related: 15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween 

“Halloween anxiety in dogs in a very real scenario,” says Christopher, “and although you’ll know when your dog is scared, unhappy or nervous, knowing how to handle it in the moment, or avoid it altogether, is key.

“Every element – from the food to the fireworks – needs to be considered, but planning a little ahead should make for a relaxing evening,” he says.

Walk them early

“Bringing your dog for a longer walk than usual, early in the evening or late in the afternoon before much of the madness ensues, will help to relax them as much as possible,” he explains.

What’s more, Chris advises keeping your dog on his/her lead at all times. Loud noises (such as fireworks) can sometimes spook animals so much that they dart away – and the last thing anyone wants is them running towards a busy road or bonfire.

Hide the sweet treats

“The next obvious risk to dogs on Halloween night is the sweet treats left for trick-or-treaters,” says Chris. “These need to be kept out of reach of your furry friend.

“We all know our dogs will sniff out every human treat they are not supposed to have (and get up to all kinds of mischief in the kitchen when we’re not looking), so it’s worth being extra careful and leaving treats in high cupboards or locked away between trick-or-treater visits,” he says.

Remember – monkey nut shells can be a choking risk, while chocolate and other sweet treats can be poisonous to dogs. Plan your sweets stash carefully.

Dangerous décor

A somewhat forgotten hazard: Halloween decorations.

“The number one risk is lit pumpkins,” says Chris. “We all know our dogs are curious and as they aren’t used to lit pumpkins, keep them out of paws reach.

“Overall, my advice would be not to overdo it – the more the house appears to be unfamiliar, especially with scary statues and hangers, the more your dog will get riled up.”

Chris also asks dog-owners to bear in mind that by wearing a mask, your dog no longer recognises you. Perhaps wait until your dog is out-of-sight before putting it on.

Stay with them

“It might seem like the practical option to keep your dog away from the noise in the quietest part of the house, but we can underestimate just how scary fireworks, spooky costumes and consistent unexpected visitors can be to dogs,” says Chris.

“I suggest keeping them close, giving them their favourite toys to keep them as distracted as possible, and comforting them with affection as they need it.

“A handy trick is to turn on music or the TV to try and drown out external noise as much as possible,” he says.

Trick-or-treaters

“You can leave a note on the door for trick or treaters to knock quietly so they don’t disturb your dog too much. Similarly, I always draw the curtains so our dogs don’t see them coming and going.

“The most important thing is to ensure your dog doesn’t come to the door with you,” he says. If a firework goes off while your dog is near an open door, there’s a risk that they will run out (and it’s not a risk worth taking).

Make a den

Chris says, “Depending on their personality, some dogs will take comfort in hiding behind the sofa or a nook in the room. If you think from past experience that this might be something your dog will do, it’s worth creating a den a few days before so they know they have somewhere to go on the big night.

“Putting a kids’ tepee in the same room where you’ll be, or even a cardboard box, can do the trick,” he says.

Know the signs

“Curiosity and worry reveal themselves very differently in dogs,” explains Chris. “If your dog has heard a noise and is barking in response, don’t rile them more or give them additional cause for concern by responding too much to this. Similarly, a little whimper here and there is fine too.

“However, excessive panting, shaking and pacing are all signs that Halloween activity is affecting your dog more than you might think.

“It’s also very important to watch their evening food intake (and even the next day), as refusing their food is a good indicator of upset.”

Ask a friend

Lastly, Chris advises not leaving things to chance. He says, “If you have a gut feeling that your dog isn’t going to react well, it might be worthwhile asking a friend in a quieter area if you can pop round for the busy times or even asking them to dog-sit.

“You can also consider a (trusted) boarding kennel in a rural area so you can have some peace of mind,” he says.

Photography by Hollie Post.

Read more: 15 dogs who are costume-ready for Halloween

Read more: 15 Halloween make-up looks from Instagram’s top MUAs

Read more: Non-naff Halloween decorations to (pumpkin) spice up your home

Also Read

Gabrielle Union surrogacy
PARENTHOOD
Actress Gabrielle Union speaks movingly about her fertility struggles and fighting feelings of failure around surrogacy

The ‘Bring It On’ and ‘10 Things’ actress has penned a beautiful essay about her journey to surrogacy and how...

By Lauren Heskin

Adele divorce
PARENTHOOD
Adele gets real about the guilt of divorce when you have children

The singer spoke about how she worried how her separation with Simon Konecki would affect their son.

By Megan Burns

Halsey on her post-pregnancy body
PARENTHOOD
‘I do not want to feed the illusion that you’re meant to look “great” immediately’: Halsey on her post-pregnancy body

The singer posted pictures to show the reality of their body a few months after giving birth after receiving praise for how she looked during her SNL appearance.

By Megan Burns

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Top tips from a leading nutritionist and a master life coach on better routines and a healthier diet

Lydia Kimmerling is a master life coach who’s helped thousands of people discover their true self, feel happier and create...

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Always craving more sleep? These 5 signs mean you’re not getting enough

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our health. When we get enough (adults should be...

By Jennifer McShane

MS
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Living with MS: What it’s like to care for someone you love

Last week, actress Christina Applegate revealed she has been diagnosed with MS. Here we look at what MS is, how...

By Grace McGettigan

missed miscarriage
PARENTHOOD
‘Is it a missed miscarriage then?’ I ask the ultrasound technician, all business as I push the reality, the grief away”

In September 2021, Niamh O’Leary and her husband got the news no parent-to-be wants to hear. For Baby Loss Awareness...

By Niamh O'Leary