Howloween Safety

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love all the children in all their costumes, everyone running and laughing, the scary decorations, the parties and all that goes with the season of ghouls. However, when it comes to dogs, this is a holiday many of them would rather pass on and go straight to Thanksgiving! The noise and changes to their environment and all of it in the dark is enough to send most dogs for the hills! So here are a few tips to keep your pup safe and happy when the scary skeletons roam your neighborhood.

1) Candy Safety: Everyone knows that dogs cannot have chocolate but another very dangerous candy additive is xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener added to many sugar free gums, baked goods and candies and it is very dangerous to your dog. This chemical can cause damage to the pancreas and liver and in same cases, the additive can be fatal to dogs. Signs of exposure to these toxic substances include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, bruising and lethargy. Keep all candy and other goodies elevated and away from your dog and teach your children to never feed candy to dogs. If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate, candy wrappers, xylitol or any other candy, see your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see signs of toxicity as waiting may place your dog’s health at risk. If you want to give them a treat, a good dog biscuit is always welcome!

2) Doorbell: We all know the sound that sends many dogs into orbit: dingdong!!! The doorbell rings over and over on Halloween – so what is an owner to do? You have a few options. Place your dog as far away from the noise as you can with music or a television on, maybe to the new Dog TV channel (my dogs love it!). Give them a special chew and let them relax in the peace. Another choice is to have someone sit outside your home and hand out candy. This is the option we choose and it gives us the chance to interact with all the neighbors, see the costumes and make new friends. Make a party of it, bring some chairs, a cooler, maybe some “adult” treats and your candy and let the doorbell have the night off.

3) Costumes: OK I know, the costumes for dogs can be really funny and cute. Dressing the Dachshund up as a hotdog is hilarious, no matter who you are! But some dogs are not really fashion focused and may not enjoy the extra attention a costume gets them from strangers. Some dogs will panic, get scared or try to eat the costume off. Skip the costume if your pup doesn’t seem to enjoy looking like Yoda or your favorite Avenger. If you do go for a dog costume, please make sure to send us a pic or post to our Facebook Page. We love to see them!

4) Children: Halloween brings children, lots and lots of them. Now is not the time to work on Fido and his lack of affinity for children. Even if your dog likes children, he may not like children in costumes or a mask, with glow sticks in the dark, running and screaming. If your dog shows signs of stress, or has in the past, leave them at home. If you have a child or children to watch, maybe taking Fido along should be skipped this year as dividing your attention between children and the family dog can be challenging and lead to trouble just when you take your eyes off one or the other. Many of our clients will avoid the risk altogether and simply bring the dogs in for a night or boarding and play.

5) Decorations: Halloween decorations are my favorite, second to Christmas. Pumpkins, scary witches and bones, smoke machines and candles round out my list. However, be sure that you think of your dog and her safety when decorating. Place candles in a safe place or use flameless lights, glass and plastic decorations should be elevated as well and electrical cords hidden out of sight from curious teeth. Any decoration that seems to frighten your dog or cause a little too much curiosity should be avoided. Enjoy the holiday and decorate fully but make sure you keep your beloved furry companion safe too!

We hope you have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Posted by
K-9 Coach