By Jessica Brody
Halloween is a magical time full of excitement, and it’s natural for a dog-lover to want their canine friends to be included in the fun. Unfortunately, Halloween can also create some hazards to dogs so it’s important to protect your furry friends. This doesn’t mean we can’t include them in our Halloween celebrations. As long as you get a little creative and put in place some safety guidelines, there’s no reason you and your pooch can’t have a safe and fun Halloween together.
Trick-or-treaters will expect yummy treats, but these need to be kept well away from Fido. All candy can be toxic and very dangerous to dogs, but be especially careful with chocolate and any artificial sweeteners. Even some alternatives to candy that are healthy for humans, like raisins, are toxic to dogs. If trick-or-treaters will be coming to your house, keep the candy bowl up where your dog can’t get to it. If you have kids who will be trick-or-treating, make sure to keep their treat bags out of your dog’s reach when they return. You also need to be careful about candy wrappers because they may be tempting to dogs but can cause intestinal blockages if ingested. If you feel bad that your dog is left out, make one of these pumpkin dog treats so they get their very own special Halloween treat.
Halloween decorations can be dangerous to dogs too, especially wires or cords for decorative lights if your dog tends to chew. Glow sticks are a favorite of trick-or-treaters, but they can make your dog sick if they are chewed and ingested. Be careful about lit pumpkins as well because a dog won’t understand fire hazard and can easily knock over a pumpkin with a candle inside. You can opt for battery powered candles instead and avoid this risk. Dog costumes also pose a hazard to your furry friend. Of course they look adorable, but your pup’s safety must take priority. If you put them in costume, make sure they are completely comfortable in it, and check that it doesn’t impair their airways or vision.
You know your dog and how they react to crowds, but Reader’s Digest suggests it’s best not to take dogs trick-or-treating with you at all. Even at your home, the general noise and flow of people in and out can be problematic for dogs. You can minimize noise by sitting on the porch to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters or putting a note on the door asking people not to ring the bell. You don’t want anyone getting spooked, and this can go both ways - dogs may be afraid of people in costume and some kids may be afraid of dogs. Along with the anxiety caused by excess noise, this fear may lead dogs to run outside.
As Redfin notes in their Halloween prep guide, in many situations it’s best to simply keep your dog safe in a room of your house where they’re insulated from the noise and are unable to dash. If your dog uses a crate they may feel safer in there. You may choose to secure your dog in the backyard, although the American Animal Hospital Association warns this can be potentially dangerous because they could be at risk of practical jokes or theft. Prevention of any safety concern is best, but make sure you also have a plan in place in case they accidentally ingest something they shouldn’t or dash out the door. Look up the number for a local after hours vet and have poison control numbers handy too.
Involving your dog in your Halloween celebrations is possible as long as you keep their safety in mind first. If you decide it’s best to keep your dog closed up in a room in your home on Halloween night, take them along for some other fun Halloween activities like pumpkin picking or corn mazes. Their safety is most important, so be sure to work other Halloween plans around these tips so everyone has a fun and safe Halloween.
Photo credit: Pixabay