Halloween can be a spooky fun holiday with scary costumes, movies, and haunted houses. However, for your dog things like candy, trick-or-treaters, and decorations can be even more scary, and not in a good way. You want your dog to have a safe and fun Halloween too.
The good news is, you can share the Halloween fun with your dog by following a few simple guidelines and keeping safety in mind. Read on for some helpful tips to keep your pup safe and happy during this spooky holiday season.
Does Your Dog’s Costume Fit?
You may think your dog looks super cute in that tiny superhero costume with the little cape (and you are probably right), but your pup may not be so thrilled to be wearing it. If you decide to put a costume on your dog for Halloween, there are a few things to keep in mind.
You want to make sure your furry friend is comfortable. Make sure your dog’s costume fits him correctly and allows for your dog to move, see, hear, and breathe normally.
Keep an eye on your pet the entire time he is in costume so that you can assist if he tries to take it off and gets stuck in it or gets part of it wrapped around his neck, or chews on it and swallows a button or a pom pom for instance.
How to Get Your Dog Used to His Costume
It is a good idea to try your dog’s costume on him prior to Halloween. If your pup is not used to wearing costumes or clothing in general, it can be overwhelming and scary for him. You’ll want to get your pup used to his new costume by introducing it to him way before Halloween and having him wear it for just a few minutes at a time at first.
Whenever you introduce something new to your pup, whether is be a toy, a costume, or anything else out of his comfort zone, it is always a good idea to introduce it to him slowly and build up the amount of time he has with it incrementally until he is comfortable.
To help your pup get used to his costume, try giving him treats and praising him for being well-behaved. You want him to associate wearing his costume with a positive experience. If your dog gets anxious or uncomfortable, you’ll want to take off the costume.
Keep Your Dog Safely Indoors
Unfortunately, some people like to play mean pranks on Halloween and will steal your dog out of the yard. Additionally, all of the activity from trick-or-treaters can scare your dog, while your dog may also startle the kids that are trick-or-treating. To keep everyone safe, it is best to keep your pet safely inside and away from strangers on Halloween.
Make Sure Identification Tags Are Current
Your dog should always have his collar, tag, or chip for identification and to help find him if he ever gets lost. With Halloween coming up, October is a good time to check your dog’s tags to make sure the contact information is up to date. You can order dog tags on Amazon here. This will be a lifesaver if your pup gets lost on Halloween.
Your Dog and Trick-or-Treaters
If you open your house up to trick-or-treaters you will be opening and closing your door all evening. Additionally, excited trick-or-treaters in strange costumes may frighten your pup and cause him to try to escape. For this reason, it may be a smart idea to keep your dog in his crate or in another room of the house during Halloween.
Chocolate and Candy are NOT for Dogs
Keep your dog safe by keeping your Halloween treats away from him. Although chocolaty treats may be a favorite for you and your children, chocolate is poisonous and extremely dangerous to dogs. You should keep your dog out of all chocolate, but dark chocolate and baking chocolate are some of the most dangerous. If your dog has eaten chocolate, take him to the vet immediately! Your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing and heart rate, and even seizures with chocolate poisoning.
Chocolate is not the only harmful Halloween treat. A lot of candy is made with artificial sweeteners that are poisonous to dogs. The artificial sweetener xylitol, in particular, can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar which in turn can cause seizures. Moreover, xylitol can cause your dog to experience liver failure even if he does not get visible low blood sugar symptoms.
**If you think your pet may have eaten something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 right away!
Your Dog and Pumpkins
Halloween pumpkin displays can be super festive and fun. However, pumpkins and corn in large amounts are not good for your dog. This is especially true if your dog gets into an old pumpkin that is getting moldy. When your dog eats something he shouldn’t, he is likely to get a stomach ache and gastrointestinal issues. If your dog swallows large chunks of rotting pumpkin he is also likely to develop intestinal blockages.
Watch Out for the Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are great for keeping your kids safe when they are out trick-or-treating. And, glow sticks are non-toxic, so your dog won’t be harmed if he gets into them. However, the liquid inside the glow sticks has a terrible taste that your dog is likely going to regret if he bites into one. If your dog has gotten into a glow stick, he may drool or vomit and become agitated. If your pup gets ahold of a glow stick, give him some water and a snack to cleanse his pallet.
Keep Your Dog Away from Candles and Open Flames
Carving jack-o-lanterns on Halloween is a common activity that is both festive and fun. Just make sure to keep your dog in mind when deciding on where to place your lit jack-o-lantern. Make sure to keep candles, jack-o-lanterns, and any other decorations with open flames away from your dog. If he gets too close, he could burn himself or start a fire.
Electric and Battery Powered Decorations
An alternative to an open flame candle is the electric or battery-operated candle or decoration. However, these are not 100% safe for your pup either. If your dog likes to chew on things, keep him away from electrical cords attached to your Halloween decorations. Chewing on an electric wire can cause dangerous electric shocks and burns that could be fatal.
Battery operated decorations may be the safest of the three options. However, you will still want to take care to keep batteries away from your pup. If your dog chews on a batter he could get chemical burns.
Even the decorations that do not require electricity, open flame, or batteries can pose a hazard, so watch your dog carefully around any decorations you have around the house. If your dog knocks over a decoration and it breaks, he could get painful shards of plastic or glass on his paws, in his fur, or even in his mouth. If these are swallowed, your dog may need medical attention and you may need to get him to the vet right away.
Our Closing Thoughts
Halloween can be a really fun holiday for both you and your pets. You can safely share the festivities with your furry friends by following some general guidelines and taking some key safety precautions including supervising your dog while he is in his costume and around trick-or-treaters, and keeping your pup safely away from any decorations or treats that he shouldn’t be getting into. With a little common sense and safety in mind, Halloween will be an enjoyable experience for everyone!