Trick or Treat, The Dog is Freaked
Fall is one of our favorite times of year and nothing screams autumn quite as loudly as Halloween. The kids look amazing, the pumpkins are carved, and preparations have been made for the gallivanting ghouls and goblins. Everyone is ready for an evening full of fun (friendly) fright.
Everyone except for the dog.
Halloween, while highly-anticipated for the humans of the house, is nothing more than an unwelcome disruption to your dog’s schedule. Costumed visitors and an unexpected flurry of activity may spike your dog’s anxiety and lead to barking, growling, or worse, bolting out the front door. Thankfully, there are ways to keep your dog safe while you participate in the night’s festivities. Here’s how:
Keep your dog in the house.
He may be the most docile dog on the block, but even those with downplayed demeanors may act out of character when miniature masked men show up at the front door. To ensure your dog’s safety, keep him in the house or behind a secure fence in the backyard as far away from the action as possible.
Watch out for decorations that pose a safety risk.
Halloween decorations are simply new toys in the eyes of your dog. Be selective with your trimmings and trappings and avoid anything with small pieces that can get lodged in your animal’s throat. Reader's Digest further suggests restricting your dog’s access to string lights and electrical cords. Even your natural decor can pose a threat to your dog throughout the season. Pumpkin, while typically considered a relatively safe fall treat, contains high quantities of carotene (Vitamin A), which can cause serious stomach issues when consumed en masse. A single cup of pumpkin contains 9875 IU of Vitamin A, more than eight times the daily recommended amount for 50 pound dog. Carotene toxicity can cause convulsions, nausea, and even death.
Never leave candy unattended.
Candy, and especially chocolate, is another potential ingestion issue on All Hallows Eve. The American Kennel Club reports that chocolate contains high levels of theobromine and caffeine, both of which are potentially fatal to dogs when consumed in large quantities. Candy wrappers create a threat of an intestinal blockage, which may require surgical intervention. Keep your dog clear of any candy that you may have in the house for the occasion or choose to give out less dangerous treats, such as crayons, stickers, or mini bottles of water, which are less likely to spark your dog’s interest. Whatever you decide to dole out, keep it out of reach. Contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 855.764.7661 or your local after-hours animal clinic or emergency
veterinarian if you believe your dog may have come in contact with potentially-poisonous Halloween treats.
Ensure your pet’s tags are up-to-date.
If your pet does wander off, you’ll want to take preemptive measures to ensure a happy reunion come November 1. Take a few moments to double check that his tags and microchip contain your current information, including telephone number, name, and address.
Quiet things down.
No matter where in the house your dog hangs out while trick-or-treaters are about, try to keep things as quiet as possible. Sit on the front porch to pass out candy instead of waiting for the doorbell to ring. Pop in a white noise CD and turn on the TV. This will n
ot completely drown out the sound, but it will give your dog something constant to focus on, which may reduce his nervousness.
Keep your pet safe this Halloween season by taking steps to ensure that he remains indoors and doesn’t have access to deadly delicacies. A few simple preparations could mean all the difference for you and your pet.
About the Author:
Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started Ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.