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Keep Your Pooch Safe on Halloween

Halloween is a fun holiday for almost everyone, but there are a few things to keep in mind for keeping your pet safe on All Hallows Eve.

  • • Treats May Trick Your Pet. Remember that chocolate can be very toxic to dogs, and although it would take a large amount to cause serious injury or death for a large dog, it would take far less to cause a problem for a smaller dog, and any amount may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Candies and other goodies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be highly toxic to pets, potentially leading to low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs, and possibly other species as well.

Signs of toxicity include nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, tremors and, in some cases, seizures. If you find evidence that your dog has consumed a significant amount of chocolate or xylitol, consult your veterinarian.

Remember, too, that raisins, even a small number, can be toxic to dogs.

  • • Oddly Dressed Strangers & Strangely Dressed Oddities. You wouldn’t blame your dog for being startled or even frightened by some of the ghouls, goblins and other creatures who’ll show up at your door tomorrow night. Even a pet that is normally relaxed and friendly might be uncomfortable when confronted by costumed strangers, and might bolt from the house in fear or become aggressive. Consider confining your dog until all of the trick or treaters have come and gone. If your pet is comfortable out and about, be sure she’s wearing proper identification.

A little extra attention to detail will assure that your dogs have a happy and safe Halloween. Photo © www.canstockphoto.com

  • • The Light in the Jack-O’-Lantern. The pumpkin itself is unlikely to cause your pet any harm if he nibbles on it, but lit candles that often accompany jack-o’-lanterns and other Halloween décor could pose a danger to your pet if, for example, a nose or wagging tail was caught in a flame. An accidentally overturned candle can also cause a fire.
  • • Cute in a Carefully Crafted Costume.These days everyone loves to dress their pets up for the holidays, and many dogs enjoy it as much as their owners. If your dog doesn’t mind dressing up, just be sure that the costume doesn’t restrict his or her ability to see, breathe or move, and that there are no dangling parts that can get caught on external objects, possibly causing injury to your pet.

And above all, never leave your pet unattended with a costume on, as he could become entangled and do serious harm to himself. Many a pet has been strangled when trying to free itself from something around its neck. By the same token, be sure that none of your Halloween decorations pose a choking hazard for your pet, and that there’s no chance of her becoming entrapped or entangled in decorations or electrical cords.

Remember that the extra activity and unusual happenings around the house on Halloween may prove stressful for your dog, so take that into consideration when planning his or her part in any celebration. Just a little extra time and thought will assure that both you and your dog have a howling good time on Halloween.

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.