Halloween can be a great time of year for the whole family – even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards!
Halloween Sweets and Treats:
Human treats are not usually good for dogs! Sweets, especially chocolate, can be extremely toxic to your dog. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog such as onion or raisins. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix – they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death!
Keep all of these “human goodies” far out of your dog’s reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider keeping your pet in another area of your home during the festivities to avoid accidents. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed and offset against the amount of maintenance diet for meal times.
Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Make sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords can be a tripping hazard or lead to electrical shock if chewed, they could also be a choking hazard if the get angled in the wires.
Be careful with the placement of pumpkins and ensure they are out of reach. Candles are also a hazard as they can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire, try using LED/battery operated lights as they have less risk of starting fires and can be left on for longer periods of time. Have fun when decorating but be mindful of your dog.
Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests:
Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers and many dogs will even be afraid if they are costumes and not easily recognised. Constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out, think about your dog’s typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween.
Try to keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up a baby gate or confining them to another area of the home. This will also prevent them from escaping out the door, ensure they wear a collar and microchip details are up to date just in case! When inviting guests into your home try to introduce them to your dog in a positive manner, if your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove them from the situation calmly or ask guests to offer a treat while in costume to promote a positive experience, this may help to reduce anxiety for the future.
During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might be more comfortable in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past. Provide a quieter space for them to relax and calm down; perhaps provide a tasty treat such as a raw carrot to chew on with some music on low.
Halloween Costumes for Dogs:
Some dogs don’t mind getting dressed in costumes however other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how they handle it; if they do not like it then don’t push the issue as this will cause stress and anxiety. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead!
If your dog is ok with getting dressed up, choose a costume that fits comfortably and allows he dog to move freely. If it is too tight, it could cut irritation and encourage chewing etc. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers and never leave your dog unattended in the costume as they could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockages.
Remember to keep lit pumpkins well away from your dogs, dogs are very inquisitive and could knock the pumpkin on the floor risking a fire or even burning themselves.
Battery powered and electrical decorations should also be kept out of your dog’s reach. Batteries can be very harmful to dogs if they chew them causing chemical burns or if swallowed they could cause blockages and chewing wires risks burns and electrocution.
Also make sure you do a sweep of your garden before letting your dog out, more and more people are celebrating Halloween with fireworks and sparklers as well as trick or treating. There are many things your dog could hurt themselves on so please be sure to clear your garden of any debris before allowing your dog outside.
Your dog can be part of Halloween fun if you play it safe. As always, follow common dog safety rules and be mindful of your dog: be certain that your dog wears current identification at all times, keep your dog on a lead when outdoors, and keep them safe from potentially dangerous situations.
Have fun, be safe and have a happy Halloween!