DogSpeak: Halloween And Your Dog

Halloween is a time of year when humans of all ages get to be kids again. It gives us an excuse to let loose and play dress up in all things foolish and ghoulish. Some people take months to prepare for this outlandishly festive holiday.

Chihuahua in little pumpkin costume

(Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Well, guess who else gets roped in to our ghastly human fun? Our dogs, of course! We love these little goblins with all we’ve got, and we just need to include them!

Each year, NYC plays host to a Halloween Dog Parade. Dogs come dressed in some fabulously intricate and detailed costumes. Some are so amazing, even Hollywood wardrobe designers would be drooling. This is a shining moment for proud pet parents.

The photos below shows you a pictures of a relaxed dogs. The body language that tells us these guys are feeling good:

1. Ears in relaxed and neutral position — not pinned backed or pricked forward.

2. Loose and relaxed jaw — accompanied by a floppy tongue.

3. Soft relaxed eyes that are not frequently blinking, wincing or fixed with a hard direct stare.

Now, please take the time to flip through NY Magazine and photographer James Kiernan’sphoto slideshow covering the Halloween parade for dogs.

How do you think these freaky friendly Fidos feel about Halloween?

Take a look at a photo from nymag.com (“Dogs Looking Depressed in Their Halloween Costumes“).

What tells us these dogs would possibly prefer to don a festive bandana or pumpkin themed collar versus the full festive getup?

Signs of anxiety and stress in canines:

1. Closed mouth/tight jaw

2. Eyes – wincing/long slow blinking

3. Head the is turned away

4. Head that is slung low

This holiday is certainly one that should be fun! I try not to poop on the parade too much, but this might be the finest example of dedicated, loving, proud and concerned pet parents mis-stepping with their canine kids. Whether we like it or not, Halloween is simply a human holiday.

Treating our dogs like royalty sometimes means, simply treating them like dogs. Accept them in all their canine beauty, glory and difference. Our dogs don’t care that we’re not keen or partaking on snacking on a stinky carcass snagged off the dirty street. Likewise, we shouldn’t care that our dogs are not keen on playing dress up with us.

This makes our relationship no less strong, fun or important. In fact, understanding our dogs, their preferences and limitations makes us better pet parents. It strengthens and enriches our time and connection with them.

If you can show some restraint, buy a cute collar or bandana and skip the costume, and for the love of your drooling devil (and his safety), make sure you hoard all of the chocolate!

Boo!