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Halloween Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Dogs Dress Up For Annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Parade
John Moore - Getty Images
John Moore - Getty Images

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Protecting your children from a sugar overload this Halloween might not be your biggest concern as you hit the streets for trick-or-treating.  In fact, the biggest threat may come from your furry friends.

The website Doggone Safe, a non-profit organization dedicated to dog bite prevention through education and dog bite victim support, believes Halloween creates a potentially dangerous situation for children and dogs alike.

The site warns that dogs may become uncomfortable, nervous, or frightened by kids screaming and running around in spooky costumes. And every child and costume could prompt a different reaction from the same dog.

An influx of visitors to the door, who never enter the home, could also confuse family pets.

To prevent accidents and create a safe Halloween environment, the organization has provided the following tips for pet owners, as well as kids and parents.

Dog owners:

  • 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 Kong or other hollow chew toy stuffed with hotdog, Rollover or other soft dog treats or a favourite chew toy.
  • 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 excited 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.

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.

For more information, visit

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