Halloween is usually all about the kids, from visiting the pumpkin patch to select just the right pumpkin and choosing how to carve it, to decorating the yard in a ghoulish (but not too scary) way, to deciding what costumes to dress up in on the big night for trick-or-treating. But if you have a dog at home, you may want to try to include him in the fun too. If you do, you need to bear in mind that Halloween can be a stressful time for pets as not all enjoy being dressed in costumes, not all like having lots of trick-or-treaters coming to the door, and many of the treats of the season are downright bad for dogs. Here are some suggestions to make Halloween a good experience for the canine members of the family.
Pumpkin is a very healthy food for dogs whether raw or cooked. However, it is important to keep the outer shell of the pumpkin, the stringy innards, and the raw seeds away from your pet, which are not good for him. Don’t give your dog pumpkin that has been sitting out on your front porch for weeks, but when you are carving a fresh pumpkin, why not keep some of the flesh to give your dog a little treat. You could also roast and grind the seeds to add an additional treat on top of meals.
Although there are infinite possibilities for what design to carve on a pumpkin, in our house we typically end up creating a face on our pumpkin. One year we decided to bring our dog’s face to life. If you have a rambunctious dog, illuminating your pumpkin with battery-operated candles rather than traditional wax candles might be a wise move.
My children’s requests for Halloween costumes have always been pretty challenging and I’ve often resorted to getting out my sewing machine to come up with something that approximates their requests – the blue and red stegosaurus costume was one outfit that sticks strongly in my mind. If you are at all creative with a needle and thread your dog could end up with a coordinating outfit. If you prefer to buy costumes there are plenty available on the market for dogs. You could always come up with a dog and dog owner outfit such as the Fox and Hound, Hot dog and Vendor, or the classic Dorothy and Toto. Bear in mind that some dogs hate the restricted or sometimes hot feeling of being dressed in clothes, so if your dog resists, don’t push it.
Trick or Treaters
On Halloween, we tend to have the doorbell ringing constantly from about 4pm (sometimes earlier) until we turn the porch light off at about 9pm. Some dogs go wild when the doorbell rings just once, let alone multiple times during an evening. If your dog reacts this way or you have not had the opportunity to do a lot of doorbell training with him, it is better to take him to a quiet area of the home, away from the front door to reduce his agitation and anxiety. This is also preferable if you are likely to have young children coming to the door who are not used to or are afraid of dogs.
We know that chocolate and candy are not a good mix with dogs, but there is no reason why they can’t be given homemade dog treats using dog-friendly substitutes. Why not try this recipe for carob cupcakes?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (heated)
- 1/4 cup carob chips
- 1/4 cup xylitol-free peanut butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup cream cheese (non-fat or low fat)
- 1/4 cup xylitol-free peanut butter
Preheat oven to 350˚ F (177˚ C).Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl, sifting together to get rid of lumps. Add egg to dry ingredients. Pour hot stock over carob chips and mix together until carob has been incorporated. Add carob mixture, peanut butter and olive oil to dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together until just combined. Use a spoon to transfer the mixture to the prepared muffin tin. Fill cups 2/3rds full with mixture. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Combine flour and baking soda in a bowl, sifting together to get rid of lumps. Add egg to dry ingredients. Pour hot stock over carob chips and mix together until carob has been incorporated. Add carob mixture, peanut butter and olive oil to dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together until just combined. Use a spoon to transfer the mixture to the prepared muffin tin. Fill cups 2/3rds full with mixture. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
While cakes are cooling, mix together cream cheese and peanut butter in the mixer until fluffy and light. Reserve frosting at room temperature.Cover cakes with peanut butter frosting and offer to your pup or four-legged trick-or-treaters.
However you decide to celebrate with your four-legged companion. We wish you a very Yappy Halloween!