Tuesday, October 26, 2010

5 Tips for a Safe and Stress-Free Halloween

1. Keep chocolate and other tempting candy out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can make them very ill. Many other popular Halloween treats can also make Fido ill as well, especially candies with the sweetener Xylitol - it is highly toxic to dogs and can make them very, very ill. You might trust your dog to leave goodies alone, but with the noise and bustle of Halloween festivities, Fido may give in to temptation and try to sneak a bite, especially if you are occupied with little ghouls at the door.

If Fido does consume chocolate or candy that you are unsure of, you should call your vet for further assistance. Just remember - just because we can eat it safely, doesn't mean our dogs can.

2. Use caution when allowing children in costumes and masks to approach and pet your dog. Your pooch may not realize that these monsters and zombies are simply children in silly outfits, and may believe there is a real threat and act out defensively. If in doubt, keep your dog in another room while treat-or-treaters are out and about.

If you need to take your dog for a walk, plan your walk earlier in the evening before the kids come out, so that you don't find youself in a tight corner with children running all about and doing things your dog might find frightening in the dark.

3. While dogs should always be supervised when outdoors on a normal day, it is much more important that you keep Fido indoors with you on Halloween night. Children may decide to play *tricks* on your dog, or may try to feed him treats through the fence that they don't realize are unsafe (or that they know are unsafe!). It will also keep Fido from finding any dropped goodies on the ground left by excited travelers.

Just remember - no everyone shares the same ideas of "fun" on Halloween night. Sometimes one person's *tricks* are another person's tragedy. So keep Fido safe on Halloween night and keep him indoors with you.

4. Some Halloween music, with its cackling and screaming, can be very threatening and frightening to dogs, who don't understand that it's all in fun. If you are one of many who like to celebrate the season in style, with the full selection of decorations, lights, and eerie sounds appearing from the darkness, it is a wise idea to ensure that these lights and sounds are not scary to your dog before Halloween arrives.
If you are thinking of holding a party, or think for any reason that your dog may not enjoy the sights and sounds of your Halloween spirit, Fido may be more comfortable staying in a bedroom for the evening, or staying with a friend or family member for the night who will keep things a little quieter.

5. You may think that nothing can or will happen to your dog. Just to be safe, be sure that your dog is wearing a properly-fitting collar, with up to date ID tags and contact information. You can never be too safe on a night when the tricks may happen as much as the treats! Keep your vet's number on hand (which should be quickly available in case of any emergency anyhow!) just in case you need to place a quick call.

Some dogs do love Halloween. For those dogs who seem to enjoy the evening-long festivities as much as you do, with visitors coming and going, you can make a memorable evening for your guests. Some dogs like to dress up (but some don't!), Fido can show off some fun tricks, the kids can give him some treats (that you have provided for them), and you can safely involve him in the activities of the evening. If you do involve Fido as part of the evening events, just ensure that you have him on leash while the door is open or keep a baby gate in front of the entrance so that he cannot bolt out of the door in excitement!

Plan ahead. Keep your dog safe. A little thought can go a long way to make an enjoyable holiday.

Happy Howl-oween!

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