Halloween can be a fantastic celebration for everyone, but remember that it can also be a very dangerous and stressful time for your dog. With many scary fancy dress costumes and many unusual and strange noises that your pet may be exposed to. There are many safety points that you should consider, to make sure that your dog remains a happy pooch during this spooky event.
Walk your dog before darkness
Play it safe and take your dog for his exercise and toilet duties before the ghosts and ghouls hit the streets. Keep an eye on him at all times, and on a short lead when out for a walk.
Provide a safe and comfortable place at home
Pets just don’t like Halloween, so the best thing you can do is to keep Fido well out of harm’s way. Make a “hideaway” in a room well away from the windows and doors. Turn up the volume on the television, to eliminate any loud noises and fireworks that can be very frightening.
Ensure that your dog is not left alone in the garden
Trick or treaters have been known to tease dogs when out walking the streets at Halloween. Other vicious acts have included injuries to pets, and even thefts of precious dogs. Make sure that your pets are kept safely indoors, especially during the hours of darkness.
Take care when opening doors so your dog doesn’t escape
It’s a fact that on Halloween evening, you will be greeting visitors who come to your door for trick or treating. You will be opening your door quite frequently, and most likely, strangers dressed in weird and sometimes scary costumes will be standing on your doorstep. It’s no wonder that our dogs can sometimes be worried and aggressive and make an attempt to escape. To reduce stress, try to place your dog in another room or a secure crate, away from the door. The last thing you want to be doing is searching for a lost dog.
Don’t force your dog to wear a costume
If you really do need to dress up your dog, please ensure that the costume doesn’t annoy him. The costume shouldn’t restrict any movement, the ability to breathe, hear or see. Always supervise your dog when he is wearing any outfit. Introduce the Halloween outfit to him before the big event allowing him to wear it for very short intervals. Offer plenty of treats and praise to make it a positive experience. If at any time your dog shows any distress, remove the costume immediately. There are many alternatives that you can buy to dress up your pet, so perhaps consider a decorated bandana instead.
Identification at all times
It goes without saying, that should your dog bolt out of the open doorway, if he has correct identification and is microchipped, the greater the chance of him being safely returned.
Don’t allow your dog near pumpkin or swede lanterns
Although small amounts of uncooked vegetable shouldn’t cause your pet too much harm, any carved lanterns that have been standing around may have begun to go mouldy. A stomach upset can result if your dog eats a large amount of something they aren’t used to. Take care if using candles to illuminate your Halloween lantern and keep well away from your dog, to prevent the risk of fire or burns.
Keep sweetie treats and chocolates away from your dog
All types of chocolate, dark and baking varieties in particular, can be lethal if your dog eats even small quantities. Poisoning by eating chocolate may bring on various symptoms, such as seizures, breathing rapidly, diarrhoea, vomiting and an increase in heart rate. Halloween sweet treats may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can result in a vast drop in blood sugar. Keep all sweet treats well out of your dog’s reach.
Don’t force your dog to meet any new children
At Halloween especially, it’s likely that many new children will come into contact with your pet. Be prepared that a child may reach out unwittingly to stroke your dog. This can be especially stressful to your dog if the child is in a costume and excited. Kiddies often wear masks to cover their faces with costumes that have bat like ears. A dog can see this as a threat, become very worried and easily agitated when their normal routine is interrupted.
Think twice before you take your dog out trick or treating
Loud noises, screaming children, scary outfits and buzzing doorbells are all inevitable at Halloween. It’s in your dog’s best interests to keep him away from these spooky situations as much as you can. A lost dog or a bite can very quickly spoil the evening. Don’t terrify your pet unnecessarily.
With more than 9 million dogs in the UK, they are very likely to be involved in the family’s Halloween celebrations. As responsible dog owners, we must do everything we can to make sure our pets are kept safe, happy and healthy at all times.