Trick or Treating with Your Dog (Is it a Good Idea?)

For some dogs, Halloween is a time of stress and fear. Between the doorbell ringing constantly and the strangers dressed in weird costumes, some dogs want to bolt and panic, or maybe even become aggressive, while others simply take up a continuous stream of barking until the whole ordeal is over.

Of course, there are some dogs who love the whole business. They want to greet every person they meet, and they find the whole thing fun and entertaining. These are the type of dogs who would do great going along for the entire trick or treat experience.

But, how do you know if you should leave our dog at home somewhere safe and quiet, or take him along for the fun? It’s simple. You need to know your dog. Here are some things to consider that will help you decide.


While age shouldn’t be used as your only determining factor, it’s definitely worth thinking about. Some young dogs are okay with all the craziness; older dogs have been there done that. On the other hand, a puppy might go utterly bonkers in the chaos and be a danger to himself and people. An older dog might get too tired or too stressed and would rather be at home. Consider how your dog reacts to strangers and crowds and whether all the walking will tire him out before you make your decision.


You know your dog better than anyone. Is he the nervous and anxious type? Is he very old and prefers to sleep most of the time? Does he get squirrelly when he meets other dogs? If so, the kindest thing you can do is let him stay home in a quiet, comfy place. Leave the TV or radio on to drown at strange noises, and if possible, have a family member stay with him to keep him calm.

On the other hand, if your dog handles excitement well, is easy-going with other dogs, and walks well on a leash without getting tired, he would surely love the whole trick or treat adventure!


Costumes can be a no go for some dogs, while others couldn’t care less. If you decide to dress up your dog for Halloween, make sure he doesn’t overheat inside his costume and offer him water regularly as you go along. Be sure the costume doesn’t restrict his movements, and it’s not tight around his neck, body, or at the leg openings.

Never put a costume on your dog that has small buttons, pins, rubber bands, or other items he could chew off and choke on. If he hates the outfit, do him a kindness and just let him wear a Halloween bow or bandana instead.

In conclusion, if you do decide to take your dog on your trick or treat adventure, make sure he is wearing a collar with an up to date ID tag. Keep him on a short leash. No retractable leashes when you’re in a crowd! And, finally avoid loud, scary music or scenes that could frighten him, and watch out for candy or other items he might pick up off the ground that could be harmful. Most importantly, do what’s best for your dog! Nothing can ruin your holiday faster than having your dog run away or bite another dog or even a person because he got scared!