With ghosts, goblins, and zombies out in full force for Halloween a week from Saturday, it is easy to be so caught up in candy buying and costume making that you forget about getting your dog ready for the trick or treaters that will be knocking at your door.
Don’t make that mistake.
Halloween poses a myriad of potential dangers to dogs, some of which can be lethal, but with a little preparation you can ensure your dog will be safe.
Here’s what you can do to protect your dog on Halloween:
- Keep the candy bowl out of reach: Chocolate (especially dark chocolate), candy, raisins, grapes, nuts (especially macadamia nuts), and anything that contains the article sweetener xylitol can sicken or kill dogs. Most of us keep a bowl full of these treats near the dog to hand out to trick-or-treaters. You dog could easily snatch some candy when you’re distracted, so be sure to keep it in a place your dog can’t reach.
- Educate your Kids about keeping candy from dogs: Most kids don’t realize that candy and other treats they collect on Halloween are dangerous to dogs. Talk to your kids about the importance of keeping them away from dogs, make sure they don’t leave any treats laying around the house, and tell them to store any uneaten candy in a place the family dog can’t reach.
- Keep you dog confined and away from the front door: You can’t always predict how your dog will react to dozens of kids dressed in scary costumes knocking on your front door and screaming “trick-or-treat!”. To ensure your dog won’t freak out and bolt outside or attack the monsters at the door you should put it in a secure room away from the front door. You may also want to give them a product like Rescue Remedy or Happy Traveler, which are natural stress relievers for pets. Seattle-based Epic Pet Health makes Calm, which also reduces stress and anxiety.
- Leave your dog home when you trick-or-treat: As I said in #3, you don’t know how your dog is going to react to stranger’s in costumes, especially if one of the little ghouls sneaks up behind your dog to scare it. On top of that, most of you attention will be on your own kids. Your dog will be much safer if you leave it at home.
- Make Sure Your Dog’s ID is Up-to-Date: If your dog has a microchip, make sure your contact information is current, and if your dog has an ID tag and/or license tag on its collar, be sure the he/she is wearing it so if it does bolt outside it will be easier for people to return it to you.
- Keep electrical wires and chords out of reach: If you’re one of the people who loves to put out Halloween lights and decorations, be sure your dog can’t chew the electrical wires/chords. An electrical shock can kill or severely injure your dog.
- Try costumes on your dog the night before Halloween: If you plan on dressing your dog in a costume put it on the night before to see if it fits and how your dog will react to it. This is particularly relevant if your dog hasn’t worn a costume before. If your dog is in a costume that is too tight or restricts breathing, or if it just doesn’t like being dressed up, it could get stressed and exhibit unexpected behavior like aggression or biting.
Have a happy, safe Halloween!