Halloween can be a really fun night! It is also a night that can be stressful for our furry family members. We have a list of ten tips for you to keep your dogs safe and have a fun night.
10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe This Halloween
- Candy is not for dogs. Keep the trick-or-treat goodies out of reach of your dogs. Chocolate can be poisonous for dogs. Many sugar-free treats are sweetened with the artificial sweetener xylitol instead of sugar. Xylitol can be very dangerous for dogs. While raisins seem like a healthy treat for kids, they can cause kidney failure in dogs.
- Walk your dog before the trick-or-treat rush. Help him burn off some extra energy and let him do his bathroom duty before the neighborhood fills up with excited trick-or-treaters. All those kids - with their parents - running around the streets in costume can be scary for dogs. Take them out for a walk before the neighborhood gets busy and let them relax (or hide) inside during peak trick-or-treating time.
- Don't take your dog trick-or-treating. While it sounds like fun to take your dog with you and your kids around the neighborhood, this can be pretty stressful for your dog. Lots of new people, in strange costumes, who are excited and loud can be stressful, and even scary for your dog. Even the most well-behaved dog could bark or bite in this situation.
- Don't leave your dog outside during trick-or-treating. Halloween can be a stressful time for dogs. There are a lot of new people roaming around the neighborhood, they are dressed in weird outfits, and they are probably excited and loud. This can be stressful for anyone! Keeping your dog inside will help to keep him safe. It will also keep people safe from him in case he gets over-stimulated.
- Don't leave your dog outside unsupervised for a few days before and after Halloween. Some people focus on the "trick" instead of the "treat." Keeping your dogs inside for a few days before and after the holiday keeps them out of harm's way just in case someone decides to be a prankster and do something silly.
- Keep your dogs confined away from the door. Door bells ringing, kids running up the front walk, and loud screaming of "trick-or-treat!" can be alarming for dogs. Dogs may bark or even bite if they are anxious or afraid. Dogs can be very territorial, so the parade of new people can be upsetting for them. Keep your dogs confined in a room away from the front door so they are not in the middle of all the chaos.
- Keep decorations out of reach. Dogs are curious, and will investigate every new thing you bring in your home. Traditional fall decorations like pumpkins, corn, and straw are not poisonous for pets, but they can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and possibly diarrhea if they are eaten. Like anything else with a candle, keep lit jack-o-lanterns out of reach of your dogs so they don't accidentally knock it over, get burned, or start a fire. Keep any electric cords out of reach so your dog can't chew on them.
- Keep all glow sticks and glow jewelry out of reach of dogs. Glow sticks look like they might be fun to chew on, until they pop open! In addition to making a mess, the liquid inside also tastes bad. it isn't poisonous, but it can make your dog salivate a lot, which just adds to the mess!
- Don't put your dog in a costume, unless he loves it. Try the costume on a few days before Halloween to make sure that your dog is comfortable in it and will accept wearing it. Make sure the costume fits and is comfortable for your dog to wear. Check for any loose straps or parts that could be chewed off and become a choking hazard. Make sure that your dog can still move easily, can open his mouth, and that the costume doesn't interfere with your dog's breathing, hearing, or vision. If your dog fights the costume or tries to take it off, please take the costume off. Do not leave your dog unsupervised while wearing a costume.
- Make sure your dog is wearing identification. Halloween night can be a very busy, exciting night. With your door opening and closing all night long, it's possible that your dog could sneak out while you're not looking. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an identification tag just in case he gets out and gets lost. Even better, get a microchip for your dog as a form of permanent identification.
Princeton Veterinary Hospital has veterinarians on call for emergencies on Halloween (and every other night and weekend). If you have an emergency, please call us on our regular number and follow the phone prompts to reach the on-call veterinarian.
Do you have more questions about Halloween or Halloween safety for dogs? Call us or come in during our regular hours. Our veterinary technicians or veterinarians will be happy to talk with you and answer any questions you have. Now get out there and have some (safe) fun!