10 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween
by Jessi Larson
Halloween is an exciting, fun holiday for humans – crazy decorations, spooky scares, strangers coming to your door trick-or-treating, creative costumes and yummy candy. But for your dog, this can all be terrifying and potentially dangerous.
Think about it: Your dog is confused why so many people are outside making all that noise. These people are dressed up in crazy costumes, running through your lawn and constantly coming to the door ringing the bell. It’s overwhelming for your pup!
In addition this, Halloween is a time where dangerous items for dogs, like chocolate and candles, are in no short supply.
October 31 is only a few weeks away, and with everything to think about, don’t forget to plan ahead and take precautions for your dog’s safety. Here are some tips:
- Keep an eye on the candy
This is easier said than done. Dogs can be sneaky and get into the candy bowl when you’re not looking. And with so many trick-or-treaters coming to the door, it’s easy to forget where you last set the bowl. Don’t forget to always put it in a safe spot away from your dog. Frighteningly, many candies are not just unhealthy for your dog but also toxic. Chocolate, especially dark, is considered poisonous for pups. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing and seizures. Find out what to do if your dog eats chocolate. Candies with the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous. Be careful!
- Don’t let the dogs out
With so much activity outside, it’s best to keep your dog indoors the night of Halloween. Sadly, we’ve heard stories of Halloween pranksters teasing dogs and even worse. Totally not cool, but better to take precautions.
- Watch the door
If you’re handing out candy, you’ll constantly be opening and closing your front door, giving your dog many chances to run out and join the fun. Be sure to keep your pooch away from the door, whether it’s in a room with the door shut, in a crate or behind a pet gate. Accidents do happen, however. Make sure your dog has proper ID, preferably a dog tag with your information and a microchip.
- Puppies and pumpkins don’t mix
Pumpkins aren’t toxic like chocolate, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for dogs to eat. If eaten in large quantities, they can induce gastrointestinal upset causing blockage. Also, don’t ever leave out pumpkins with lit candles when dogs are around. They could burn themselves or knock over the candle causing a fire.
- Pets don’t like wearing costumes as much as you do
Let’s face it, there’s probably nothing cuter in this world than a dog in a costume. Your dog might not like it as much as you do, however. Always try the costume on your dog beforehand and see how he or she reacts. If your pup seems distressed, remove it. If they don’t mind being dressed up, then just double check to make sure they’re comfortable and can see, hear and move OK, and that there’s no small parts that can be eaten.
- Trick-or-treating isn’t for dogs
As tempting as it is to bring your dog out with you trick-or-treating, don’t do it. You don’t know how your dog will reaction with everyone running around, and even tougher, you won’t know how people will react to your dog.
- Scary decorations can spook Spot
For any holiday, you need to make sure your decorations are pet-safe.
Keep all electrical chords and wires out of your pet’s reach, and make sure your dog doesn’t chew or ingest any materials. Halloween decorations are designed to spook trick-or-treaters but they can also spook your pup. Flashing lights and large, dark figures like a skeleton or scarecrow decoration can give your pet a scare.
- Careful with your costume
It can be confusing for your dog to see you in a costume, especially one with a mask. Let your dog see the costume before you put it on. Whatever you do, don’t change and then come out in full costume – it can startle and scare your dog. Also, dogs can get excited by costumes with dangling material, like a tail for example, and try to bite it. Stand still and sternly tell him to stop if this happens.
- Step away from the glow sticks
Glow sticks are shiny and shaped like chew toys, so of course dogs will try to chomp them. This usually isn’t life threatening but it can cause pain, irritation, drooling and foaming at the mouth.
- Make their environment comfortable
You won’t be able to completely block out all the noises and stimulation of Halloween, but you can take steps to make the environment in your house more comfortable for your dog. For example, close the drapes so your dog doesn’t see everyone outside, and play music or leave the TV on to masks the sounds. You can also distract your pup with a rawhide, Kong filled with treats or a toy.
With these tips, you can ensure Halloween is safe for your pup and fun for you and your friends and family. Have a ghoulishly good time!