Halloween is fast approaching and for many pet parents, that means safety consciousness ratchets up a level or two. Not only will there be kids wearing strange costumes at your door, in your yard, and on the street, there will be an over-abundance of chocolate and xylitol-laced candies lying about your home. That can spell trouble for our four-legged children.
To help keep your fur-baby safe, we’ve put together a handy Halloween safety guide for pet parents.
1. Watch out for goblins on your doorstep.
Strange costumes, the doorbell ringing every couple of minutes, and people and smells galore can send your poor pup into sensory overload. That’s why it’s important to keep him away from the front door so he doesn’t escape into the neighborhood.
Try setting up a comfortable spot in your home for your pup somewhere he feels safe – away from the front door. Include his favorite bed, toys, chewies, and maybe even a TV to create a little distraction from all the commotion on the front lawn. Costumes can be very confusing and scary for dogs, as they have difficulty processing what’s “wrong” with the person in front of them – they just know something isn’t right and it sets off all their alarm bells for safety and security.
If your dog goes into protective overload, consider stepping outside on the porch to hand out candy until Trick-or-Treat is over to help protect him and your Halloween guests.
2. Expect the best, prepare for the worst.
While every pet parent is extra-vigilant while the front door is open, the chances of your pooch escaping into the neighborhood are higher on Trick-or-Treat night. Makes sure your dog is wearing a reflective collar or vest, his ID tags, and maybe even a little extra identification to help get him back home should he get outside. Take a picture of your dog that day so you have a current photo for flyers should he go missing, and have him microchipped by your veterinarian (if he’s not already).
3. Sweet treats are your worst enemy.
All those yummy goodies lying around the house can spell trouble for your fur-babies. Cats and dogs can’t have chocolate or xylitol, a common artificial sweetener found in popular sweets. Keep all candy out of your dog’s reach and consider storing it somewhere secure, like the refrigerator or a high cupboard, because we all know how resourceful our dogs can be when they want something. I even go so far as to only buy Halloween candy without chocolate or xylitol, just to be doubly safe.
Keep the animal poison control number handy- just in case. That number is (888) 426-4435. If your dog eats something he shouldn’t, call poison control or your emergency vet at once. They will probably tell you to induce vomiting and bring him in right away to receive activated charcoal and other medicines to treat the poisoning. Poison control can direct you on how to induce vomiting in your dog. Keeping some common items in your pet safety kit, like table salt, hydrogen peroxide, and syrup of ipecac can help.
4. Keep dog-appropriate treats on hand.
If everyone else in the family is indulging in yummy treats, it’s only fair to reward your dog as well. You can bake your own homemade treats, cut up raw meat chunks, or pick up a selection of healthy pumpkin treats for him to enjoy. Be sure to reward him for his good behavior and give him something yummy while the kids are eating their candy so he doesn’t feel left out and develop a need to sneak candy after bed.
5. Listen to your dog.
If your dog starts acting up on Halloween, don’t try to correct him. He believes his job is to protect you and your house and the flood of people in strange costumes may just be too much for him to handle. Consider using calming supplements for dogs to help him unwind, and remove him to a quiet area of the house immediately if you notice a change in his behavior. Even a normally docile dog can bite or become aggressive when stressed.
Keeping your dog safe for Halloween is often a family effort, so be sure to talk to our kids, grandkids, and family members about paying extra attention to dog over the holidays. Know where he is at all times and react to any changes in his behavior by meeting his needs promptly. Everyone can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween with a little extra effort and being aware of the dangers Halloween poses to your dog.