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From The Vet: DO’s and DON’Ts for Halloween


Halloween is a fun evening for kids and adults.  It is not always pet friendly, but with a little forethought, you can make sure that your dog has a safe and fun time too.


Consider your dog’s personality. If you have a shy, fearful dog, he might not enjoy all the crowds.  He may be happier given an option to hide in a safe place with low music to drown out the sound of visitors. Costumed figures may appear threatening to your dog, so if he barks or backs away, let him retreat to a safe distance without confrontation. Forcing interaction scares dogs and could get someone hurt.

Include your dog. Most dogs love to be a part of festivities.  If you have an outgoing and friendly dog, consider finding a comfy and durable costume for her to wear to make people notice and speak to her.  A glowing orange collar can be all that she needs to be seen inside and outside the house. Even shy dogs may want to be allowed to watch the fun from a distance.

Keep decorations and candy out of reach. Do not forget that your dog will be eye level with the things that are below yours. Halloween decorations and candy can pose a risk to a curious or hungry dog.  Chocolate is a common culprit.  Many vets see dogs regurgitating brown, sweet smelling vomit with wrappers still present in the days surrounding Halloween. Sugar-free treats can be ever more of a danger. Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in many sugar free candies and gum is very toxic to pets. A good rule of thumb is to keep all things that are not specifically labeled for dogs out of reach.

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Don’t let your dog outside without a leash and ID.  It is easy for a dog to slip out of a door that’s being opened so often.  Curious dogs will wonder why happy children are walking around, smelling like candy. Make sure that your dog is correctly identified and even microchipped in case he does slip away. Update your contact info with the microchip website before the holiday.

Don’t forget to survey the area for hazards. Things besides the candy can be dangerous for dogs. Empty candy bags and shopping bags can become a suffocation hazard. Other overlooked Halloween dangers can include glow sticks or dry ice.  Glow sticks are non-toxic, but the liquid tastes very foul and will cause excessive drooling which can be alarming.  Dry ice can cause frost bite on contact with bare skin (or a curious tongue).

Don’t leave dogs unattended. Dogs can knock over candles creating a fire hazard.  Even if you have a shy dog that prefers to be alone, don’t forget to check in on her regularly. People that are not typical residents in your home do not know your dog as well as you do and supervision is always wise.

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Halloween is a festive time that ushers in the fall, but let’s keep “fright night” safe and fun.

Do you want to know more about dogs? Find me on Facebook and check out my own website,

Written by Dr. Kathryn Primm

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