As a breeder of Anatolian Shepherds and Border Collies and an owner of a pet boarding facility, I understand what a challenge Halloween pet safety can be. Here’s a plan to keep you and your pet out of the Animal Care Emergency while you enjoy Halloween.
Halloween pet safety for your dog
1. Decide if your dog should wear a costume. Will he enjoy hamming it up and getting extra attention or is donning a costume an act of total humiliation? You know your dog, you decide. Make sure the costume does not restrict your pooches walking, breathing and sight. Would a festive bandana be more comfortable for your pet? It might be a better choice for Halloween pet safety. Don’t leave him unattended in his costume. Definitely don’t leave more than one dog alone in their costumes. They may become each others chew toys. Lastly, realize your dog’s canine friends may not recognize him and go on the attack. Give them a few minutes identify one another before they are too close.
2. If you are sure your pet wants to participate in the festivities make sure you keep him on a leash. Don’t forget to make sure that their collar is in good working order. There will be a lot more confusion this night so you don’t want your pet to get separated from you. Check and recheck their collar and make sure you have their microchip number handy. If you are at home handing out candy, keep him on a leash or behind a child- gate, so he doesn’t dart out to see what all the excitement is about.
3. Take care with human costumes. Costumes, especially ones that have been tried on and smell like your family members will be of special interest to your pet. Ingesting your costume or his doggie costume could mean a long night at the pet emergency room.
Halloween pet safety around the house
4. Halloween pet safety starts with pet-proofing the decorations. Open flames in Jack o’ Lanterns can create a spooky atmosphere, but could be knocked over by a waging tail or inspected by a curious nose. Electric cords that help illuminate the yard and décor need to be hidden and secured so your pet doesn’t chew on them. Remember our four legged family members use their noses and mouths to ‘check things out’.
5. Create a safe haven for your pet. Even the most social dogs will want a break from the constant door bell ringing and parade of strangers to your door. For the stressed out and protective types, you may consider starting the evening with a nice long walk or ball retrieving session before the costumed kids come out onto the street. You can put your pet in a crate in your bedroom or a kennel in your garage. You may want to turn the television or radio on and close the curtains to minimize the sounds of excited children. Others can take a break as needed. Make sure you provide them with a good safe chew toy like a stuffed Kong. The act of chewing will release endorphins and help them relax.
Another option for the nervous dog is to let him spend the night at a kennel. If you have your own kids, or just a lot of neighborhood trick-or-treaters, you may not have the time and energy it takes to help your dog stay calm. A night at the kennel would allow both you and your dog to have a calm, fun Halloween.
6. Don’t leave your pets outdoors unattended, even in your own backyard. Sometimes mean tricks are played on dogs and cats, even in the friendliest neighborhoods.
7. Be extra vigilant about picking up candy and keeping it above counter surfing level. Candy, with too much sugar, artificial sweeteners and chocolate can be toxic, even fatal to dogs. Remember to be a on the look out for fallen and discarded candy in the yards and sidewalk when you go for a walk that night or in the morning. If you are concerned your pet has eaten something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Our dogs are like children to us. We want them to have a good time and share in the joy we experience during holidays. With a few Halloween pet safety precautions everyone can have a great time this Halloween!
If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area and would like to learn more about Halloween pet safety, or want to book a night at our kennel for Halloween night, give us a call at (804)795-9415.