Costumes, treats and decorations can be a hazard
Halloween is a fun time for humans dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating, but it can be a difficult time for our dogs. They are much more sensitive to noise and fireworks. Their natural flight response can put them in danger of running away, getting lost or even being hit by a car. That makes Halloween night one of the busiest times for animal shelters and veterinary clinics.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your dog safe:
I know it's super tempting to dress up our dogs on Halloween. I have nothing against it if your dog is a star profile and loves getting attention and having fun. All I suggest is for you to be mindful and ask if your dog is enjoying being dressed up or if he or she is only putting up with our human desire to dress them up.
If you are going to put a costume on your dog, make sure:
- It does not restrict their vision.
- There are no tight elastics.
- There are no tripping hazards.
- The costume doesn’t include parts your dog might chew on or eat
- Keep an eye on your dog at all times and remove the costume if they show any signs of distress.
Fireworks, fear of noise and trick-or-treaters
If your dog has a history of reacting to loud noises, you should definitely keep him/her inside.
I also suggest you use the homeopathic preparation called Aconitum Napellus (Aconite) 30C or 200C (sometimes it’s labeled 30 CH). I’ve seen this herbal, homeopathic preparation noticeably calm many dogs.
Give three mint-sized pellets or 10 poppyseed-like pellets three times, three hours apart. You can find this remedy in a local homeopathic pharmacy or online at Helios in the UK. They ship remedies to the US and Canada.
Dogs can get stressed out with the doorbell constantly ringing and open doors increase the chances of your dog bolting out of the house. That’s why your dog should wear an up to date ID on their collar.
Ideally, allow your sensitive dog to stay in a safe room behind closed doors or use a crate. For most dogs, enclosure means safety. Have some music or the TV playing to mask the sounds of fireworks and excited children.
Your dog may also be very happy to get a safe bone to chew on. Just remember it has to be raw. Never feed cooked bones to your dog.
Sweet treats can harm your dog
One of the biggest dangers for dogs are Halloween candies.
The biggest problem comes from ingesting chocolate, which is toxic for dogs, as well as raisins, which can cause acute kidney failure. Other less dangerous sweet treats can cause vomiting or diarrhea.
If your dog ingests raisins or chocolate, induce vomiting immediately and take your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic.
Remember to keep treats and empty wrappers out of reach of dogs and remind children not to share their Halloween candies with your dog.
Halloween decorations are not chew toys
Decorations can be problematic for some dogs. They can chew on plastic and ingest pieces of decorations, such as spider webs. Most decorations are made in China and may contain toxic substances.
If your dog is curious, there are several reasons to keep him/her away from jack-o-lanterns. Knocking them over could create a fire hazard or your dog could get burned poking their noses inside to investigate.
Last few tips for a happy Halloween with your dog
Use reflective gear or a small LED light to make your dog visible.
We wish you and your family a fun Halloween and keeping your dog happy and safe!
© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM