Halloween Safety Tips
In true 2020 form, Halloween will be a mighty different experience this year. I’m bummed for the kiddos, but I’m secretly kinda happy for the dogs. Is that wrong?
Put yourself in your dogs paws for a sec. Strangers ringing the doorbell again and again, the door open / shut / open / shut, Littles in strange attire, masks … not exactly a calming experience for a dog.
Some dogs have the personality, maturity, and training to positively revel in the experience. My Buddy was that dog. He thought everyone was coming to see him. Like his own personal Doodle Appreciation Parade. He loved it. But not all dogs appreciate the stream of visitors and noise, and will be stressed and confused. Reactive behaviors like fear and anxiety can put a dog in fight or flight mode - neither of which you want.
We don’t have trick or treaters out here in the country, and well because 2020 … but if we did, these are the things I’d be doing to keep #sistertheairedale safe. She’s a 55lb five month old puppy. She looks grown, she thinks she’s grown, but she’s still very much a baby.
Sister is loaded with personality, and would be thrilled to have a stream of visitors. She would also want to romp and play with the little goblins. Sister would be the opportunist - she would slide past me through an open door in a heartbeat. So on a leash it is, for her safety and that of the trick-or-treaters. She still has an opportunity to be social, but I remain in control at all times.
If your dog is not as outgoing as Sis, give him a comfortable safe place. A contained part of the house as far as possible from the action. Even a typically sedate dog may be overwhelmed by the activity and prefer to be contained in a secure environment. This also prevents your dog from giving you the slip and getting lost, or worse hit by a car.
Sister is the mouthiest dog I’ve ever known, and she has a voracious appetite. Unattended food disappears in a nanosecond, so I know she wouldn’t hesitate to chow down on some Halloween candy. Danger Danger!
Chocolate (especially baking or dark chocolate) is so dangerous, and can be lethal for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Fatty chocolate and candies can also predispose dogs to pancreatitis. Raisins and nuts can also be highly toxic.
The scariest of Halloween candies are the ones with xylitol, an artificial sweetener. Even tiny amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. It’s bad stuff y’all.
If you see your dog ingest something they shouldn’t, you can induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Don’t do this if more than 10-15 minutes have lapsed … the peroxide trick needs to happen immediately after ingestion, or not at all. Oh, and do it outside - it happens fast, and it’s pretty messy.
My lit pumpkins will have a battery operated tea light - definitely no open flame. Her wild self would have my whole house aflame. I shudder.
I include this in every safety tip, and I’ll repeat myself yet again. ID please! Should Fido freak and bolt, proper identification greatly increases the chance that he will be returned. If you’re using a gps collar, make sure it’s fully charged before the festivities. Double check you dog’s ID tags - ensure they are present, with accurate information.
Happy Howl-o-ween y’all. Make it a good (and safe!) one.