By Aurus Sy
Published: 10/05/2021, edited: 10/26/2021
The spookiest time of the year is almost upon us! If you share your home with a four-legged family member, then ghosts and goblins aren’t the only things to watch out for. Potential dangers lurk in the corners of your own house, but being a vigilant dog parent and taking precautions will help ensure a safe and frighteningly fun All Hallow’s Eve for your canine companion. Here are some things to beware of and how you can “pupare” your home for Halloween 2021!
Chocolate is commonly given out during Halloween, but it’s definitely no treat for your pup. It’s toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can’t be easily metabolized by canines. Chocolate can make your pooch really sick; the darker and more bitter it is, the more harmful it is to your four-legged friend. Unfortunately, most cases of chocolate poisoning in dogs occur around Halloween, as well as on other holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter when there is more chocolate on hand.
Aside from chocolate, raisins and sweets containing xylitol are also big no-nos for your furry pal. Raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, and even small amounts of xylitol can lead to seizures, liver failure, or a fatal drop in blood sugar. Be sure to always keep that candy bowl out of your dog’s reach. Better yet, put sweets in baggies and then inside a container with a secure lid. This will make handing out candy to trick-or-treaters a lot easier too!
And before you take Fido outside for a walk the next morning, see to it that your front porch is clear of candy wrappers. Foil and cellophane are not only potential choking hazards, but can also cause bowel obstruction if swallowed.
Decorations play a big role in setting the mood for Halloween, but a lot of pieces don’t mix with companion animals. Dogs are naturally curious creatures, so you can expect your pooch to investigate any new and unfamiliar objects you place around your home. Alas, popular decorations such as lit jack-o'-lanterns and candles can burn your dog’s nose or fur, and natural ornaments like gourds and corn stalks can cause an upset stomach or intestinal blockage if ingested. Fake cobwebs, string lights, balloons, glow sticks, and other decorations with plastic components or batteries can pose a danger to your pooch as well.
For your pup’s safety, keep decorations completely out of reach or tone it down a bit. The most pet-friendly decorations are the ones that aren’t electrical, such as Halloween-themed pillows, plush items, and signs and images that you can securely stick on walls, doors, and windows. You can also get your dog some Halloween-themed toys!
It’s not Halloween without costumes, but should you dress up your dog too? While there is no doubt that your pup will look cute as a taco or postal worker, some canines don’t enjoy being decked out. Moreover, pet costumes aren’t subjected to regulations or tested for safety and can put Fido at risk for entanglement or strangulation, especially if they’re too elaborate or have a lot of dangling parts.
If you do decide to have your pooch wear a Halloween getup, be sure to choose something that lets them move, see, eat, breathe, and relieve themselves freely. Never leave your furry friend unattended while they’re in costume, and remove it immediately if you notice them licking their lips, giving you whale-eyed looks, or tucking their tail.
A reluctant pup should never be forced into a costume, but that doesn’t mean they can’t dress up for the occasion. Simply have them don a Halloween-themed collar or bandanna and you’re all set!
The decorations are up, the candy is ready, and it won’t be long before the doorbell starts ringing every few minutes. There’s one more thing left to do though, and that is to keep your dog behind a baby gate or closed door. Even if your pup is friendly, some children are afraid of dogs, and there’s no telling how your canine companion will react to the sight of costumed kids at your door.
Unfamiliar sights and sounds may startle your dog and cause them to bolt outside, so it’s best to keep them away from the view of trick-or-treaters, ideally in a room with a closed door or at the back of the house. Give them a toy or chew to keep them occupied and turn on the TV or radio to muffle outside noise. And as an extra precautionary measure, make sure your pup is microchipped and wearing a collar with an updated ID tag—just in case!
Is your home “pupared” for Halloween? How will you and your best friend be celebrating this year? Share your pup pics with us in the comments or on social media—remember to tag @wag and use #wagwalking to be featured!
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