Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Dog Safety

It's that time of year again ...


I love Halloween. Definitely one of my very favorite times of year.

But amid all the festivities and frivolity lurk some potential dangers to our fluffy friends. Here are a few points to keep in mind this Halloween to ensure that everyone has a good time!

  • The most obvious danger is the plethora of chocolates and candies! Keep all candy and chocolate away from prying noses. Secure your loot in high cupboards or behind secure doors. Ensure that bowls and platters of sweets are kept out of reach. The caffeine in chocolate is very dangerous for your dog, and candies, wrappers, or sucker sticks pose choking hazards.
  • Provide a safe and calm environment for nervous pooches. With all of the knocking and doorbell ringing sure to ensue throughout the evening, even the most laid back dog can get a little anxious. If your dog is one to get worked up over visitors at the door, they would likely be happier confined to a back room or basement with their own Halloween treat (a stuffed Kong is a great option!).
  • Watch out for door dashers! Whether due to excitement or fear, a dog dashing out of the door while you are handing out candy is a very real danger. Traffic often increases in residential areas during Halloween as parents follow their children around. And while drivers are (hopefully) extra vigilant about children and pedestrians this particular night, a darting dog can easily be missed. Confine Fido to a separate room, tether him so that he cannot reach the door, or use baby gates or an x-pen to give him a safe area to watch the fun without getting too near the door.
  • Even if your dog enjoys visitors and doesn't pose a threat of dashing away on you, be aware that not everyone else loves dogs as much as you do. Even the most well intended dog, large or small, can frighten some children. So to avoid these situations, it is best to keep your dog away from the door no matter how safe or well trained you perceive them to be.
  • Costumes can be very cute, and some owners even argue that their dogs ENJOY wearing costumes or outfits. But costumes should only be worn when you are able to supervise your dog. Do not leave a dog unattended while wearing a costume, as they can easily become entangled or caught up in the extra accessories. Bits can be chewed and swallowed, posing a choking or blockage risk.
  • Do not leave dogs outdoors unattended on Halloween, or the weekend surrounding it. Halloween is on a Saturday night this year, so be extra vigilant. While most Halloween goers are just out for some fun and candy, there are individuals out there that define "fun" in a very different way. Pranks abound around this time of year, so do not leave your dog vulnerable to these sorts of activities. Outdoor dogs should be brought indoors or secured in the garage or an enclosed dog-safe building.
  • After Halloween is over and before letting your dog outdoors again, make a perimeter check of your yard. Ensure that all gates are still securely closed, and check the ground to make sure that no one has tossed treats, wrappers, or garbage over your fence. This holds true for walk times as well. Be aware of dropped candy or garbage that your dog might scoop up on their next walk.
By following these few simple guidelines, you can help ensure that you and your dog celebrate many more Halloweens to come!

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