There is a lot happening on Halloween…withches, ghosts, goblins are everywhere and oh my goodness look at all that candy…and what the heck is that big orange thing with the goophy face looking at me with a flicker in it’s sorta eye…I better check that out too the dog thinks to itself happily!

While your dog may think that all those ghosts and goblins, candy and pumkins are super interesting and attention getting…but some of these things can be downright frightening and dangerous for your dog!

As you began decorating or planning your Halloween party, let’s make sure that your dogs safety and wellbeing is a top priority!

Here are 10 Halloween Dog Safety Tips for you to keep in mind and impliment during the Halloween time…

  • Paws off the sweets: Keep candy and sugary treats away from your dogs! Store candy higher than counter height to avoid Fido from counter surfing and consuming toxic chocolate, dangerous sugars or other potential hazardous ingredients. 

    • All forms of chocolate – especially baking or dark chocolate – can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.

  • Spooky attire: Kids in costumes can be scary for some dogs. Keep your dog safe and out of harm’s way by keeping them inside.

  • Door patrol: Have a busy neighborhood for trick-or-treaters or Halloween party?

    • Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.   Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution. Make sure your black cats are safely housed indoors around Halloween.

    • Indoors is certainly better than outdoors on Halloween, but your door will be constantly opening and closing, and strangers will be on your doorstep dressed in unusual costumes. This, of course, can be scary for our furry friends, which can result in escape attempts or unexpected aggression. Putting your dog in a secure crate or room away from the front door will reduce stress and prevent them from darting outside into the night…a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.

    • You could also put up a baby gate to ensure your pup doesn’t run out the door and get lost. And for that matter, make sure your dog is wearing a collar with identifying information just in case. If your dog should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be returned.

  • Decorate mindfully: Because dogs love to put new things in their mouth—keep decorations off the floor where inquiring pups can’t reach.

    • Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.
      While small amounts of corn and pumpkin can be fed safely to many pets, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn displays can cause big problems. Gastrointestinal upset is a possibility whenever pets eat something they aren’t used to, and intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed.

    • Keep electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach.
      Electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations are certainly safer than open candles, but they still can present a risk to pets. Pets who chew on electrical cords can receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock or burn. Batteries may cause chemical burns when chewed open or gastrointestinal blockage if swallowed. Shards of glass or plastic can cause lacerations anywhere on the body or, if swallowed, within the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Fire safety: Lit jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween must—just make sure they are far from where furry tails can knock them over or get burned!

    • Don’t keep lit pumpkins around dogs.
      If you are using candles to light your jack-o-lanterns or other Halloween decorations, make sure to place them well out of reach of your dogs.  Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or causing a fire.

  • Comfort is best: Dogs in costumes are super cute—but only if the dog is comfortable wearing one.

    • Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it.
      If you do decide that Fido needs a costume, make sure it isn’t dangerous or simply annoying to your pet. Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. Remember that pets who are wearing a costume should always be supervised by a responsible adult so that if something goes wrong, it can be addressed right away.

    • Try on your dogs costumes before the big night.  Don’t wait until Halloween night to put your dog in a costume for the first time. “Any time you want to introduce your dog to something new, it’s best to go slowly.  Get your dog costumes early, and put them on for short periods of time (and piece by piece, if possible).  Make it a positive experience by offering lots of praise and treats.  If at any time, your dog seems distressed or develops skin problems from contact with a costume, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”!

    • Bandanas, capes, and festive accessories are a great alternative to full costumes.

  • The big bang boom: 

    • Make sure your dog is ID’d!  This one is key – it’s not a coincidence that missing dog cases spike when firework are going off. Dogs can get so spooked by fireworks that they try to escape and many sadly succeed. A collar and tag with identifying information can help your dog be returned to you more easily should the worst happen. If your dog does run away, it is highly recommended that getting the word out to local animal control and surrounding shelters immediately is helpful.

    • Take a current photo of your dogs – just in case.

    • Leave your pet at home. You might think that having Fido with you might help ease his stress, but the combination of unfamilar surroundings plus the sound of fireworks is doubly scary. Also, if your dog is outdoors, they may well make a run for it, so keep them inside for the duration of any fireworks shows.

    • If you know that your dog is frightened by fireworks, try to have someone at home to stay with your dog.

    • Create a distraction. If you’re home when fireworks are going off, redirect your dog’s attention by throwing his favorite ball or another well-loved toy. Not only will you distract your dog, but you may help them associate the noise with something positive like play and attention.

    • Even if your dog doesn’t show signs of distress around fireworks, resist the urge to bring your dog with you to watch a fireworks display. Dogs are far more sensitive to the sounds and smells produced by fireworks and would be much happier having a quiet night in.

  • Keep glow sticks away from pets:  While glow sticks can help keep people safe on Halloween night, they can add some unwanted drama to the holiday if a dog chews one open.  Thankfully, the liquid inside glow sticks is non-toxic, so it won’t actually make pets sick, but it does taste awful.  Dogs who get into a glow stick may drool, paw at their mouth, become agitated, and sometimes even vomit.  If your dog does chew on a glow stick, offer some fresh water or a small meal to help clear the material out of the mouth.

The best thing a dog owner can do on Halloween day/night is to set up a “safe zone” somewhere within the home. Creating a secure space for your dog to relax in will be sure to keep them stress-free during the high-traffic and spooky noisy celebrations.
A few things to include in the safezone: their bed, crate, water bowl, favorite toy, etc.


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