10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe and Sane on Halloween

Halloween is a fun time of year and a holiday that many of us look forward to.  However, for the family dog Halloween can be a dangerous and stressful holiday.  Plan ahead and be prepared by implementing some common sense and making the holiday safe and sane for everyone involved.

1.  Prepare a Secure Place for Your Dog to Hang Out On Halloween 

Have a place where your dog will be safe, secure and comfortable on Halloween.  If your dog is crate trained then this is the best option hands down.  If your dog is not crate trained, keep him confined in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat hours.  Either option will help reduce your dogs stress caused by the ringing doorbell and exuberant squealing of costumed children.  Keeping your dog confined will also reduce your stress by eliminating the worry of your dog darting out the door every time you open it.

2.  Best Dog Halloween Costume Ever - A Tag and a Microchip

If you do not seclude your dog and he manages to escape out the door, he may find his neighborhood frightening due to it being filled with strange looking costumed creatures. Be sure Fido is wearing a tag with his name and your contact number in case he is too confused to find his way home.  If your dog does not have an identification microchip implanted between his shoulder blades, now is the time to get him one.  The chip is permanent and contains your contact information that is read by a scanner.  If you regularly change your phone number then consider using your vet as a primary contact point.  Contact your local veterinarian, shelter, or pet store for more information about microchipping your dog.

3.  Second Best Costume Ever - Fur

Some dogs will tolerate you putting a costume on them but most find it uncomfortable and stressful.  If you insist on dressing up Fido, be sure the outfit does not constrict movement, vision, hearing, breathing and barking

4.  Appropriate Treats

Dogs and humans should always stick to their own treats and Halloween is no exception.  Chocolate is toxic to your dogs health.  Keep some yummy dog treats handy so Fido can participate in the holiday festivities and do not forget to keep a watchful eye over the candy that you are handing out.

5.  Watch Out for Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener used in gum and candy and it is also toxic to your dog.  Watch for products containing Xylitol and keep them out of your pet's reach.

6.  Keep an Eye on Jack

The carved Jack O'Lantern looks great with a flame flickering inside of it and candles can be spooky and provide ambiance.   If your dog knocks over anything that is burning he could be seriously injured or start a fire.

7.  Keep Decorations Out of Your Dogs Reach

Keeping your dog away from candy is not the only hazard to worry about on Halloween.  Pumpkins, decorative corn, costume accessories, etc. may be non-toxic but if your dog eats them he may suffer from an upset tummy or even worse, intestinal blockage.

8.  Kids Outside - Dogs Inside

When the kids go out trick-or-treating keep Fido inside at home.  You may enjoy seeing friends, neighbors and kids dressed up in masks and costumes but this can be confusing and frightening for your dog.  Dog behavior can become unpredictable under stress so play it safe and leave your dog at home.

9.  Know Who to Call In Case Your Dog Becomes Sick

If you think your dog has consumed something dangerous have the following resources available:
Your veterinarian's number, local animal hospital, or after hours emergency vet.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center  888-426-4435.

10.  Do Not Forget About the Wrappers

The candy is has been eaten but have the wrappers been disposed of properly?  Candy wrappers and packaging could lead to choking or other medical issues if your dog finds them and eats them.  Clean up after your little goblins and be on the look out for dangerous debris for the next few days after Halloween.

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