The Daily Spike: Halloween (and HOWL-oween) safety tips for dogs

Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, footballs are flying, and dogs are in costumes all over my Instagram. It must be late October!

Spike and I have been low-key these past two weeks, managing his pneumonia and recovery, and thankfully he’s back to 100 percent. But as a result, I’m very behind in getting him a costume! I asked my fellow Canine Companions friends for any ideas, and boy did they deliver!

Halloween is a fun time, for sure, but it can be very stressful for some dogs. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will hopefully make your dog’s night less ghoulish:


  • Costumes should be easy to put on and take off.
  • Do not force a puppy, or their body parts, into a costume.
  • Costumes should only be worn when the puppy is actively supervised.
  • Do not obstruct the puppy’s vision, breathing, or ability to bark.
  • Avoid costumes with parts or pieces that can be easily chewed or swallowed.
  • Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury
  • Try the costume on once or twice before you plan to have a pet show it off. Make sure your dog is comfortable, or that its tail is wagging.



You may want to leave your dog at home or in their crate while you go out trick-or-treating. The sights and sounds can be overwhelming for some.

If trick-or-treaters come to your door, you may want to put your dog in their kennel or in a room with a closed door. Between the doorbells and crazy costumes, some dogs get scared and could bolt out the door. One other option is to meet the trick-or-treaters with your dog on a leash. You know your dog best, so just make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.


Be careful with your Halloween decorations so your dog doesn’t end up eating a plastic spider or rubber witch. Pumpkins and decorative corn are non-toxic, but could make your dog sick if ingested. Lit jack-o-lanterns or electric decorations can also present risk if you have a dog that likes to chew on cords. Glow sticks, which are more popular every year with trick-or-treaters, could become a tempting chew toy for your puppy. Though also non-toxic, the chemicals inside the glow stick taste terrible and can make your dog sick. No one wants a sick dog on Halloween!

Especially not Spike. (Jennifer Williams)


This brings us to the most important item: Candy can be very dangerous for dogs. Chocolate and sugar-free candies using the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems for dogs or cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian immediately and/or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Happy Howl-oween everyone. And enjoy the costumed photos of Spikes friends!


For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, visit