Your sweet dog guards your home day and night, and as a tireless vacuum for scraps, helps keep the place tidy too. But even if he’s dressed up as Superman for Halloween, he’s not immune to the potential hazards that creep up when your neighborhood turns into a mix of Hogwarts, The Land of Oz, and the set of 101 Dalmatians every year on October 31.
Whether you live in a spooked-up Victorian home in San Francisco or a mod home in Sioux Falls, SD, follow these safety tips from our friends at DogVacay to keep your pooch safe, happy, and wagging his tail this holiday.
Bring pets inside for the night
Between loud noises and strange kids (and people) passing through your neighborhood, Halloween is full of commotion. This can cause stress and anxiety in pets and may ultimately lead to their trying to escape from the backyard.
As on the Fourth of July, on Halloween, dogs have been known to jump fences in an attempt to escape the chaos. There’s also the chance that a prankster passing by could taunt your pup or even throw candy/chocolate at him if he’s out in the yard. Our best recommendation? Avoid all that completely by keeping your pets inside for the night. Going out? Enlist the help of a DogVacay pet sitter!
Keep sweets and treats out of reach
While prepping for trick-or-treaters, be sure to keep all candy and sweets out of your pets’ reach. Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in many products) and chocolate are extremely toxic to dogs and can cause serious illness to your pup, and even death. All candy bowls should be out of reach and under your close supervision. Keep in mind that if there’s a will, there’s a way: Dogs will jump high onto counters and tables to find what they’re looking for.
Pet-proof your decorations
Although pumpkins are relatively nontoxic to dogs, they can induce gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities. Larger pieces could also create intestinal blockage when swallowed. Of course, if your dog knocks over a jack-o’-lantern with a lit candle inside, he could get seriously injured and your home could be damaged. So it’s best to display jack-o’-lanterns high up on windowsills or shelves and well out of reach of pets. Also stay away from any creepy-crawly Halloween accessories and decor items that could pose a choking or ingestion hazard.
Don’t leave pets unattended while wearing a costume
If you decide to dress your dog up, it’s important to keep an eye on him at all times. Make sure the costume is not too tight, which can hinder your pup’s mobility and lead to bodily injury or even strangulation. Avoid costumes that have strings, beads, or any other type of hanging material that could become a choking hazard. If your pup seems uncomfortable, of course, take off the costume.
Double-check all pet tags
Although you’ll be doing everything you can to prevent your dogs from escaping, it’s important to make sure they’re all wearing ID tags with your up-to-date contact information before the holiday.
Use gates and leashes
On Halloween, we all love meeting ghoulish visitors traveling door to door in hopes of collecting the biggest candy stash. But remember, trick-or-treaters mean open gates and doors. Before the fun begins, make sure all pups are safe and secure in the house where they can’t escape if anyone accidentally leaves a gate or door open!
Your dogs love your neighbors, and they love your dogs. If your dog is friendly and wants to greet your neighborhood trick-or-treaters, we suggest keeping Fido on a leash and under your close supervision. Add a baby gate near the front door if you plan on opening it often, so that there’s an extra barrier between your dog and the exit.
Take steps to ward off anxiety
Halloween presents multiple different situations that might spark fear and anxiety in your dog: strange noises, doorbells ringing, screaming kids, and strangers in your home. One of the best ways to prevent anxiety is to burn off excess energy — take your pups on a long walk well before the festivities begin. A tired pup is a relaxed pup!
Mentally stimulating treats are great for distraction too: Try KONGs stuffed with peanut butter. You can also leave a TV, radio, or fan on in the background as white noise to help drown out some of the din coming from outside.
Share your tips for Halloween pet safety in the comments below, and don’t forget to share your pictures of your pooch this Halloween with #Petoween!