Halloween is a fun-filled holiday for both kids and adults, but can be a frightening time for even the most confident dogs. Avoid unnecessary stress and dangers this year by following these 7 easy Halloween dog safety tips:
- Halloween treats are for people only! All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
- Decorative pumpkins and corn can also cause gastrointestinal upset, especially in dogs where these things are not part of their regular diet. Though relatively nontoxic no one wants to be cleaning up an avoidable mess with so much else going on!
- Keep pets confined and away from the front door. Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. Even the most social of dogs can become anxious and growl or bark at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from making a mad dash outdoors.
- Likewise, do not take your dog out for trick or treating as tempting as it may seem. Even the best-trained dogs can become spooked or aggressive in the noise and confusion of Halloween. Children you encounter may also be fearful of dogs.
- Don’t put your dog in a costume unless you know that they’ll love it. If your pet seems stressed by the costume, remove it for their own safety. For dogs that do love to dress up, try on the costume before the big day and make sure that it fits well, there are no dangling or loose pieces, and it does not constrict breathing, barking, hearing, or other natural movements. Also watch for signs of allergies or other behaviors abnormal to your pups.
- Keep lit pumpkins well away from your pets, Dogs can end up with singed fur or burns if a pumpkin gets knocked sideways or can even cause a fire. LED or other battery powered lights are a great alternative to traditional candles.
- Make sure your pet is wearing ID and/or is microchipped! Should your dog manage to get loose outside a collar and tags and/or a microchip increases the chances that they will be returned.