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It’s almost time for the most fun time of year: Halloween! While you are ready to have a fantastic time with your friends, your dog should be considered, too. Make sure to take some extra precautions to keep your pooch safe this spooky season.
Of course you want to dress your four-legged pal up in an adorable costume (that matches yours) and show him off to your neighbors and friends, but some dogs might have some issues to consider. Not every Halloween tradition has to include your pup.
Tips for dogs on Halloween:
Keep candy away. You might be tempted to allow your pup some treats, but keep them dog-friendly. Chocolate can be very dangerous and even deadly for some dogs, and you don’t want to find out the hard way. Remind children of this rule, too. You can keep dog treats handy to give him. If you have a party, make sure guests — especially kids — know how to keep food away from your dog. Kids’ plates are an easy target. Know in advance which foods and substances are toxic, and don’t serve them.
Take him outside. Get his bathroom business done before kiddoes come knocking on your door. That way, when the ghouls arrive at his doorstep, he’s less likely to have an accident. It might be wise to take your dog on a long walk before the festivities begin because a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
Keep candles and Jack-o-lanterns away. Candles and rambunctious animals don’t mix. Decorative foods like pumpkins and corn are non-toxic, but can cause stomach upset in a pup. It’s best to keep both away from pets.
Keep wires hidden. Dogs like to chew on things, and all the new decorations that come with cords will be tempting for him. Chewing on a live electrical cord can be very dangerous for your dog and the household.
Put nervous dogs away. If your dog is anxious at the thought of strangers coming to his front door, it might be best to close him in a quiet room or put him out in the backyard. Your dog could scare kids away or actually hurt someone. Make it as stress-free as possible for your pooch: Give him chew toys, a favorite blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, or anything that comforts him. Play some soft music or a recording of soothing sounds.
Beware of costumes. Some dogs like them, and some don’t. If you plan to dress him up, try the costume on well in advance so he can get used to it. Make sure it’s not restrictive of his movement, vision or breathing. Never leave him alone with the costume on because he could chew it up and choke on the pieces. Or a string or elastic could get wrapped around his neck or leg, causing disaster.
Keep him inside. It might seem like a good idea to let your dog go trick-or-treating with your kids, but it’s really not. Kids are excited and might let go, and they may not be equipped with skills to properly restrain your pooch. Also, that’s your job, not the dog’s.
Make sure IDs are updated. Your dog should always have on some kind of identification, including a tag or microchip. With guests arriving at the door, there is a higher likelihood of your pets darting out. You want to make sure that if you lose him, he can quickly find his way back home.
Halloween is a magical time of year, and you’ll enjoy all the great costumes and parties. Just make sure your pooch’s needs are met, too, so you can have a safe and fun Halloween.