Halloween can be a frightening time for dogs, help keep your dog calm and safe during the holiday with these helpful hints.
Bring Your Dog Indoors
Indoor pets should be kept inside to prevent anxiety from all the excitement going on outside during Halloween, even if you have a fenced in yard. If your dog stays outside, bring him in a few times to get him comfortable with being indoors. Remember it’s a natural instinct for dogs to protect their families from strangers and on Halloween the costumes can make anyone a stranger.
Keep Your Dog Secluded
If your dog is timid, easily scared or even an overall loveable dog, it may be best to place him in a separate room away from the front door. By doing this, it limits the excitement going on and gives him a less likely chance of becoming aggressive or running outside where he could get lost or injured. If you choose to keep your pet out and about in your home, keep him on a leash so you can control him when greeting those who are trick-or-treating incase he tries to jump, lunge, bite, or growl at guests.
Our pets can sense what we are feeling so we need to stay calm to help set the mood for our pet. Even over-assuring or paying your pet extra attention can alarm your pet that there must be something to worry about. Stay calm and go about your normal routines.
Familiarize Your Dog
While your dog knows you as family a costume could make you a stranger once you are in costume. Introduce costumes to your dog before putting them on. Let him sniff them and then put costumes on without masks or makeup and talk to your pet to familiarize and reassure your dog.
Dressing Up Your Dog
Some dogs may enjoy being dressed up, but many don’t. Experiment with a costume first to see if your dog minds. Make sure your dog can see, hear, and breathe and if any resistance is shown or your dog is trying to remove the costume, it’s best to take it off your dog. It can be stressful to your dog and dangerous when you aren’t observing if your dog were to remove it and chew up the costume thus posing a choking hazard. A festive bandana is a safer alternative and your dog will be happier.
Check Your Dog’s Collar
Make sure your dog’s collar fits properly. Collars should fit snug but have enough room to place two fingers underneath. Check your identification tag and rabies tag to make sure they are up to date, correct, and securely fastened onto the collar. We do customized engraved tags while you wait at our clinic.
Keep Candy Away From Dogs
Keep candy away from pets and place it where your dog(s) cannot get to it. Many candies, especially those containing chocolate or xylitol (artificial sweetener) are toxic to dogs! If ingested dogs can experience upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, or even death. Make sure to let others know not to give your dog any candy either. For your dog’s safety caution children and others to keep all sweets and their wrappers, which pose a choking hazard, away from pets.
Protect Your Pet
We all love the smell of pumpkin and spices during the fall and many of us use candles in our homes or in jack-o-lanterns. These pose a risk to pets. Curious dogs can get burned and excited dogs that are jumping around or swinging their tails can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Use extreme caution when burning candles or consider using a battery powered candle instead.
While the idea of taking the family dog trick-or-treating sounds like a fun idea, it should be thought about carefully. Your dog’s temperament and safety should be taken into consideration. You may unintentionally instill a new fear of strangers in him that could create a new wariness lasting long past the holiday. If you do decide to take your dog, make sure you check the collar that it’s tight enough he won’t slip out of it yet loose enough to slide two fingers underneath and be sure to keep a firm grip on the leash. Dogs don’t understand the commotions going on and may mistake someone trying to scare you as a threat and can attack instinctively to protect you. Neither children nor adults should approach your dog without your consent just as you shouldn’t without another pet’s owners consent.
* If you notice these symptoms of chocolate poisoning, please contact Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic at (704) 489-2444 or if after hours our emergency clinic (704)949-1100 right away because your dog’s life may be in danger:
Vomiting and diarrhea
Muscle tremors and seizures