It’s that time of year where ghosts and goblins come out to play, October is a lot of fun but let’s make sure even our “furry monsters” are having fun this time of year too. In this article we will go over some tricks and treats to help your dog enjoy Halloween too.
Chocolate: A Poison Apple
Most all of us know that chocolate is not good for dogs, but how much is a problem? In a nut-shell it is dependent on how much chocolate was eaten, how much your dog ate, and what kind it was. I know that doesn’t seem too helpful but that information is important for this next part. Here is a link to a helpful online tool that you can use at home to help with determining what you should do if your dog gets into chocolate. BEFORE you start putting in numbers keep in mind that the calculator is using pure chocolate, most candy bars like Snickers, Milky Way, and Twix are coated in milk chocolate but most of the candy is the filling. To put that in perspective a full size milk chocolate Hershey Bar is 1.5oz of chocolate so the fun size bars has very little chocolate. So to give some perspective if a 10lb dog went and ate a full size Hershey bar the concern is mild-moderate with your dog having stomach upset, and probably some vomiting/diarrhea, which means you would want to keep an eye on them but they should get better with some time. The page also has a list of some common chocolates so you can more accurately use the calculator. If you are still concerned call the ASPCA Poison control line (888) 426-4435, and they can advise you further. Best thing is to keep the candy away from your pets.
Decoration Dangers: That’s not food
We all love to get into the holiday spirit but be careful your pet does not get into the decorations. Here are some helpful thoughts for your decorations this season.
· Make sure there are no unattended flames your pets can get to
· Make sure if your pet can reach anything that they can’t eat or chew it
· If you have electrical cords make sure they are tucked away and out of reach so your pet does not chew and/or pull them
· This is a time of year for decorations designed to scare, your pet however is not in on the joke. If you have loud, noisy, or startling decorations keep them away from your pets.
Missing Pets: Disappearing with the Morning Sun
Halloween can be scary and confusing for pets, strangers coming up to the door, people in costumes walking by the house, lots of strange noises on the street. When some pets get scared they run, and sometimes even they don’t know where they are going. Before Trick-or-Treating starts make sure your pet is wearing their collar with tags and is safe and secure inside. If your pet is a known runner or doesn’t like to keep their collar on consider getting them microchipped. The microchip is not like a GPS but an id-tag they cannot take off and is one of the first things checked when a stray pet is picked up. If your pet is already chipped make sure your contact information linked to it is up to date.
Anxiety: Scared to Death
We briefly touched on the topics that can bring stress to your pet this time of year. The strange people, the irregular noises, constant stream of strangers coming up to the door, and to top it all off the strangers are in costumes and smell of latex and face paint which is not normal at all for them. To help make this a more friendly experience here are some tricks so your pet’s night is a treat.
· Have your pet in a secure and secluded place in the house, somewhere they can be comfortable.
· Play soothing music for them to help drown out the noise outside, studies show classical music is soothing for pets.
· If your pet gets worked up (barks or tries to meet everyone at the door) when people come to your house, stay outside with the trick-or-treaters if your giving away candy. Then there is no knocking or doorbell to alert your pet throughout the night.
· If your pet gets worked up at people even coming up the driveway, be at the end of the drive so that trick-or-treaters don’t even walk to your house
· If you are going out yourself or are not participating make sure the Trick-or-Treaters know, have your porch light off, or have the candy at the end of the driveway so that they do not disturb your pet.
· You can also discuss with your vet about anti-anxiety medication to help during this time as well
Costumes and Trick-or-Treating: Cross to the other side or Haunt the halls of your home
We have a wonderful article that was put up on our Facebook page from vetstreet talking about costumes for your pet so instead of repeating them I’ll link that here. Now on to Trick-or-Treating, now it may seem like a fun idea to take your dog with you. It’s like going on a walk but with candy and costumes but your pet may not see it that way. On a normal walk your pet maybe sees a few strangers, and they are dressed in normal attire. On Halloween, unless you like to Trick-or-Treat in some very underpopulated neighborhoods they will probably see ten times that wearing all sorts of strange costumes. Not to mention this is a holiday about scaring people, so the decorations are going be rather startling to them as well. I would recommend letting your pet stay at home where it is calm, familiar, and if you followed the steps above relatively quiet, but if you are determined and think they will be alright here is my best recommendation. Keep them on a good leash close to you (not an improvised or retractable one), do not let people pet your dog there is enough stress being out without adding strangers in costume touching your pet, and keep it short. Don’t do the “Trick-or-Treating doesn’t stop till the pillow case is full” thing, if that’s your plan let your pet stay at home.
Halloween Parties: The Monster Mash
Halloween Parties can be a lot of fun just make sure your pet is having fun too. This is mostly highlighting the tricks above but it deserves reiterating. If your pet is stressed by strangers and noises it may be best to not to host the party. If you want to host it any way, make sure your pet has a safe, quiet, and secure place they can be, and everyone at the party knows not to disturb them. Make sure your decorations, treats, and other party supplies are not in reach of your pet and if you need something to help with your pets anxiety talk to your vet.