Don’t let Halloween monster your dog

Whether you’re a fan of this annual celebration of candy and creepy things, or not, make sure that your pets are kept safe during Halloween this year.

1. Don’t let sweets leave a sour taste

Any form of chocolate is dangerous and can be lethal for dogs through their reaction to the compound in the cocoa called theobromine. Sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol are also poisonous – causing low blood sugar, seizures or liver failure. Eating any sugar is also not recommended so keep the dog away from the treat bags, while lolly pop sticks or candy wrappers are a choking or intestinal blockage hazard. Make sure dogs aren’t eating the pumpkins in large quantities either.

2. Avoid a night of frights

Every time a visitor calls around, it’ll be a child or adult dressed up in a strange costume or in a mask – which for some dogs will be very scary. Put them in a secure room inside the house or out the back with some new toys to play with or a bone to chew on with some soft music on the radio. If you want them to answer the door with you, put a lead on them so they don’t run away should they get scared and have their dog treats handy to reward them for being calm. Some people set off fireworks so if your dog is scared of these, make sure to put the necessary precautions in place to keep them relaxed and secure. Here are some tips on this from Positively.

3. Put pets away from pranksters

Keep pets inside or in the back yard – to avoid nasty people wanting to harm, injure, steal or kill pets just for kicks during Halloween. This is relevant for all types of pets but particularly so for owners of black cats. Make sure their ID tag and microchip are updated in case anything does happen.

4. Keep scary items safe

Ensure animals can’t brush up against or bump candle-lit pumpkins, igniting either themselves or the house. Any other festive lights or decorations should be secured to avoid electrical shock, the ability to bite the items or cut themselves on broken glass or plastic.

5. Cute costumes can choke or cut communication

I’m personally not a fan of dressing up dogs in full costumes. If you must, choose a cute bow tie or perhaps a bandana tied around the neck. The problem with a lot of the full-body costumes is many dogs don’t like it, and they can be quite constrictive in terms of movement or breathing while having loose items that can be chewed. Think how hot it is for them as well under those usually polyester fabrics. Some costumes are choke or tangle hazards, while restricting the dog’s ability to communicate through their body language using their tail and ears. If you are dressing up your dog, never leave them unattended while they are in their costume and keep a close eye on their physical and emotional wellbeing at all times.

If you are celebrating this year, have a safe and happy Halloween to everyone and their pets!