12 Oct Ensuring Your Dog Has a Safe and Fun Halloween at Home
Photo Credit: czaran19, Pixabay
Halloween ranks as the third most popular holiday in the United States, and for good reason. You can dress up however you like, eat as much candy as you like, carve pumpkins, and adorn your house with spooky décor. However, the very things that make Halloween great for humans can be dangerous for dogs. As a pet owner, it’s important that you take steps to ensure your dog has a safe and fun Halloween at home.
The candy and decorations are perhaps the biggest potential hazards for dogs. Many Halloween decorations feature wires and electric cords, which can cause choking, strangulation, or electric shock. Other decorations can be chewed up and result in injuries from shards of glass or plastic. Be sure to keep all decorations and cords out of reach. While using candles in pumpkins is ill advised even without pets around, it’s especially dangerous if you have pets, as they could knock it over and cause a fire or get too close and get burned.
Candy should also be kept out of reach. All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, are dangerous for dogs and can lead to death. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Candies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol are also poisonous to dogs, and even a small amount can create problems.
Pumpkins and corn aren’t toxic to dogs in small doses, but large quantities can result in gastrointestinal upset. Also, if your dog were to swallow large pieces, intestinal blockage could occur. When carving pumpkins, be sure to clean up well, as the seeds can be a choking hazard. As previously stated, moderate amounts of pumpkin are acceptable, so let your dog in on the fun by making dog-friendly pumpkin treats.
When strangers are constantly ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door, it can be alarming to your dog. The fact that the strangers are also dressed in strange ways and yelling for candy makes your dog even more on edge. Your dog may feel anxious, causing him to run out the front door or charge at someone. Even if your dog is well behaved, some children are afraid of dogs.
Prepare for a night of trick-or-treaters by keeping your dog confined and away from the door. Putting your dog in a secure room is best, but you can also keep him secured in the backyard. However, don’t leave the dog alone in the yard; someone should stay with him. Although it’s shocking and disconcerting, some pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, or even kill pets on Halloween night.
If you think your dog will enjoy wearing a Halloween costume, test it out before the big night to ensure he tolerates it and is comfortable. Remove the costume immediately if your dog shows signs of discomfort, inability to bark or breathe, has restricted movement, or any other abnormal behaviors. A festive bandana can be a safe option, or just let your dog rock his usual look.
Because your dog has an increased chance of escaping and becoming lost on Halloween – no matter how careful you are – it’s imperative that you ensure your dog has the proper identification in order to increase the chances that he will be returned. Even if your pet has an embedded microchip, he should have tags with your current address and phone number. Also, be aware of steps to take should your dog become lost.
Halloween can be festive and fun for humans, but it can be scary or dangerous for dogs. The decorations, candy, and other foods can pose serious health risks for dogs, so be extremely careful. Also, trick-or-treating can be confusing and stressful for dogs, so place him somewhere that will help make the night easier on everyone. If you want to dress your dog up, be mindful of how he feels about it. Lastly, get your dogs IDs up to date. Taking steps ahead of time and thinking about your dog’s needs while planning can keep him safe and comfortable this Halloween.