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Woof Wednesday: That Bites! Keep Halloween Fangs At Bay

Beware werewolves in doggy clothing!

Next Monday is Halloween–are you and your dogs ready? What about your kids? Sure, you and your kids are comfy around your own pets, but what about the strange dogs they’ll meet while trick-or-treating?

Dog bites injure nearly 5 million people every year. Half of all kids in the United States get bitten by age 12, and five-to-nine-year-old boys are at highest risk. You can prevent dog bites, it doesn’t have to happen. Most dog bites result from inappropriate interaction with the family pet, with a neighbor’s or a friend’s dog—or even your puppy.

Many dogs enjoy the holidays. Nonstop doorbell rings and visitors showering attention may be doggy bliss for your pet. But even friendly, laid-back pooches get their tails in a twist over the disruption to routine. That can be dangerous for pets and for people.

Dogs recognize people by smell but also by sight. A dog may not recognize a favorite human behind that Halloween mask. Miniature goblins, witches and other ghoulish visitors often are strange children he won’t know. A flowing cape or sparkly fairy wings can be scary. A frightened dog easily mistakes a waving “light saber” or pitch fork as a weapon aimed to hurt. Halloween can increase your child’s risk for a dog bite–so refer to my latest Paw Nation article for Tips to Prevent Halloween Dog Bites.


Don’t forget to train the dog! All dogs bite and chew, but it’s important to teach bite inhibition and stop puppy biting before it gets out of hand. What’s baby-cute or aggravating in your new pup becomes dangerous once he grows up. One accidental bite could label your pet as a “dangerous dog” and result in an expensive lawsuit, increased insurance rates, and costly medical bills. Teaching bite inhibition not only protects people and prevents heartbreak, it could save your dog’s life. You can learn more about how to teach your puppy (or adult dog–it works on the big guys, too!) how to pull their toothy punches and inhibit bites.

Please share! This info can save kids and pets any time of the year, not just at Halloween. But for more Halloween safety tips for your dog in this Halloween Ideas for Puppies roundup, including costume tips and first aid for too much candy.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

8 responses »

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Signed up for your puppy newsletter! Mine is such a good dog these days (except for chewing on everything) but with owners like me I need all the help I can get lol.

    Those halloween tips are great. In England we would need them for bonfire night much more than Halloween. My hubby is away on Halloween so while I’m trick or treating I don’t know what to do about handing out treats etc. but we won’t be gone long and the dog can’t escape.


    • Welcome to the newsletter, Catherine! Feel free to forward the tips to anyone else you think could benefit–around bonfire time. *s*

    • I hope you don’t mind my sharing what we are going to do. We will both be home but we won’t be opening the door to strangers (of any age) or giving out treats. I really urge people to give up Halloween in the way we all grew up with — it is safer all year round for all parties not to open the door to strangers or knock on strangers’ doors. Go to parties, share with those you know if that floats your boat but opening doors to strangers and knocking on strangers’ doors just invites unnecessary risk since not everyone is nice.

      We had enjoyed it for years and then one year realized the risks just aren’t worth it either way & participating encourages others’ risks.

  2. One more thing — if one gives up Halloween trick-or-treating participation one greatly lessens the stress on one’s pets. Thanks for the tips for everyone who isn’t taking that route!!!!

    Don’t forget if you do do the trick-or-treat thing — cats who love to dash out may use the chance to do it so shutting them in a safe room may be best.

  3. Oops. I see you had covered a lot of this!!!! Thanks for your blog and your tips.

  4. It’s really a shame how the world has changed. In many towns though there are still neighbourhoods where kids can feel safe (with parents following along) and homeowners go to great lengths to decorate and make Hallowe’en fun. I agree that if there are concerns Hallowe’en parties are the way to go. Thanks for the important pet tips Amy.


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