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Keeping Your Dog Indoors Is Best On Halloween

Hey, guys.

I hope you’re enjoying your Friday so far. I don’t know about you, but I have been frantically searching for specific Halloween costumes for my two little boys. There seemed to be ‘something wrong’ with each costume they had looked at. Luckily, we ended up finding the perfect Spiderman costume for my 3-year-old, and Power Rangers costume for my almost 7-year-old. Meanwhile, as we’re looking at all the different costumes, my oldest son pointed out a costume for our Saint Bernard puppy — some dogs don’t mind costumes, our dog would lose her mind.

I’m sure you know where I am headed with this. This week we’ll be talking about your dog and Halloween.

I must admit, Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday, but my kids sure are excited. And, if you have kids, I bet they’re pretty pumped to get out there and trick-or-treat, too.

Our doggies on the other hand, well. They usually aren’t as thrilled as we are. Usually, anyway. Don’t worry, though. We’ll go through a handful of safety tips to keep your pup happy and healthy this holiday season.

Don’t Give Your Treats to Rover

All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous or even deadly to your dog.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and/or seizures. If your dog has eaten chocolate and is exhibiting any of these symptoms or even if he isn’t, an immediate visit to your veterinarian is a necessity.

What about other candy? Nope. Most candies contain an ingredient we have covered a bunch of times before. Do you remember it? Xylitol. Even the smallest amount of Xylitol can cause a severe, sudden drop in blood sugar followed by loss of coordination and seizures.

Worried About the Pumpkin

While small amounts of pumpkin can be fed safely to many dogs, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins can cause big problems. Gastrointestinal upset is a possibility when our dogs eat something they aren’t used to. And, intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed.

Another danger with pumpkin? Some types of mold produce mycotoxins which can cause neurologic problems in dogs.

Keep Your Dog Confined

Keeping your doggy indoors is the best idea on Halloween. But, if you’re staying home to hand out candy, your door will be opening and closing nonstop. Plus, not only are strangers coming to your door, they’re strangers in all kinds of different costumes.

No big shock that your dog may become uncomfortable, territorial, or even aggressive on Halloween with the chaos and confusion. Putting your dog in her crate for a little while, or in a room she’s comfortable in, will significantly reduce your dog’s feelings of stress and anxiety.

Another Reason Why

Some dog lovers may be tempted to put their dog on a runner out back away from all the trick-or-treaters. Or, in a fenced in area in the back yard. Unfortunately, our world is not the nicest sometimes and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Pranksters have been known to tease, steal, injure, or even kill pets on Halloween. I hate writing that. But, it needs to be said to keep your loved furry family safe.

If You’re Going Out

If you do decide to dress Rover in a costume and go out for the evening, make sure it isn’t dangerous or annoying to your pup.

Costumes shouldn’t restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. Your dog must always also be supervised when the costume is on to prevent any accidents from happening.

Here’s a tip, too. Don’t wait until Halloween night to put your pet in a costume for the first time. Remember, any time you want to introduce your pup to something new, it’s best to go slow. Be sure to grab your pet costumes early and put them on for short periods of time — piece by piece, if possible.

Make this a positive experiencing by showering your dog with praise and treats. If, at any time, your dog appears to be distressed, anxious, or uncomfortable, immediately remove the costume.

If you don’t want to try the costume idea, you could always try a festive bandana for your pup to walk around with while you’re trick-or-treating.

Don’t Forget His ID Tag

If your dog were to escape and get lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that she will be returned.

Collars and tags are helpful if your pup finds someone who is willing to help him find his family, but microchips offer permanent identification just in case their collar or tag falls off.

If your dog has a microchip, make sure the information is up-to-date in the recording system.

The Bottom Line

This article isn’t meant to worry you but rather to prevent accidents from occurring. And, make you aware of the dangers lurking near your furry family member(s).

If you’re dressing your dog in costume for Halloween, and you’d like your dog’s photograph shared on my professional Facebook and Instagram pages, please feel free to send them to AmberLDrake@dogbehaviorblog.org.

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