Halloween is a festive and fun holiday for both kids, adults and...pups. Over the past few years more and more Halloween events are popping up exclusively for our four-legged babies. Our first instinct is to run out and purchase the cutest costume, or get creative with a DIY Halloween costume. However, we need to take a step back from the festivities and be mindful of a few Halloween safety tips. A fun-filled evening can easily turn into something quite the opposite.
1. Not all dogs like costumes. What dog doesn't look cute in a costume, right? There are some pups who don't mind being adorned with apparel and others...well, you know how it goes. It can be a struggle. In fact, costumes can cause a great deal of stress and we all know what that does to our sweet pups. They can act out of character and may become unpredictable. If your pup is one that doesn't mind being in costume, make sure the costume fits correctly and there isn't bling, buttons or accessories that could be ingested. Costumes and accessories should never impair their ability to hear, breathe, move or bark.
2. Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters? Who doesn't want to show off their pup all decked out in a costume. Letting your pup roam freely around the house while your handing out candy isn't the best route to do this. It's always safest to confine your pup to a room during trick-or-treating hours. Your dog may be well behaved around company and social settings however, a steady stream of strangers approaching the door and/or stepping inside can cause stress and erratic behavior. With the barrage of kids tromping up the porch for candy, loud noises, screeching kids, and the door being opened and closed frequently, you also don't want to take the chance that your pup will dart outside unexpectedly.
3. Double check the decorations. Dangling lights, small ornaments, carved pumpkins with candles inside, Indian corn, wire, and plastic bag ghosts (to name a few) are extremely risky for your dog. Any spooky decor containing polyurethane glue can be deadly as it expands and hardens once ingested. Be sure to "pup proof" the decorations and this includes anything that can topple over, spill, or shatter.
4. Keep the candy out of reach. Most of us like to share our snacks with our furry friends. Who can resist those looks of guilt. Just keep one thing in mind when the candy bowl is overflowing. Candy. Is. For. Hoomans. This isn't a snack you want to share with your pup or give them easy access to. When the kids come home with their bags and pails filled to the brim, store it where Fido doesn't have access. This also includes the bowl of candy for your trick-or-treaters. Chocolate is toxic to dogs as well as the artificial sweetener Xylitol (found in sugar free candy and gum). Certain candy can also be a choking hazard for your dog and plastic wrappers can lead to an obstruction.
5. Hide the glow sticks too. Dogs will mistake glow sticks for a chew toy. It happens more often than you think. More than likely, the liquid inside is non-toxic to "hooman" children however, for dogs, it's an entirely different story. In some cases, the liquid can cause excessive salivating, gastrointestinal distress and your pup could have an allergic reaction. And, the plastic that houses the liquid can get lodged in their throat or cause an obstruction.
6. Don't leave your pup outdoors. You wouldn't let your 5 year old go trick-or-treating by themselves for obvious reasons. Sadly, in this day and age, you have to take every safety precaution when venturing out for Halloween festivities. This should include your pup as well. Keep them indoors and when they need to go out, accompany them. Like with kids, there are people scoping out neighborhoods looking for dogs who are unattended. I've heard horrific stories in the past about dogs being stolen from yards. It's up to you to keep your them safe.