Halloween with your Pet

With Halloween right around the corner, it is almost time to trick or treat. Don’t forget that Halloween can be scary for companion animals. Here are a few simple tips to keep your pet safe on the spookiest night of the year.

Don’t forget to keep all human candy out of reach of your pets. Candy can make a pet sick and can even be lethal. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which can make pets very ill and could even cause death if consumed in enough quantity. Xylitol, an ingredient found in many artificially sweetened products is harmful even in small amounts. Don’t think wrappers will thwart your pet – be safe, and keep the candy bowl and plastic pumpkins filled with treats in a place not accessible to your cat or dog.

If you do suspect your pet has ingested some candy, call your local veterinarian immediately. When trick or treaters ring your doorbell it can be upsetting for some pets, and you run the risk of your pet running out the front door when you open it. If you are handing out candy, consider keeping your dog in another room with a treat stuffed Kong to keep her busy and preoccupied.

More and more, people are dressing their dogs up for Halloween. But while people often enjoy dressing up their dogs in a cute costume, many don’t realize their dogs may not appreciate the get-ups as much as the people do. When you put a costume on your dog, watch for any signs of anxiety or distress, such as panting, dilated pupils, tail down, crouching or pawing at the costume. If your dog hates the costume, don’t force her to wear it. An alternative to a full costume could be a holiday-themed collar, bandana or coat.

Dog costumes should allow full and normal movement, should not restrict vision, hearing, breathing, barking, eating, drinking or elimination. Watch closely to see if any parts of the costume are bothering your pet, such as an overly tight strap or itchy material or worse, frightening, like a costume that obstructs vision or noisy material that causes confusion.

Adjust the costume so that your pet is comfortable. Remove any tight elastic bands, as these can easily become ensnarled in pet hair, leading to pain and inflammation at the site, and never leave a costumed dog unattended.

Instead of going trick-or-treating to show off a costume, consider treating your dog to harvest-time activity instead. Many pumpkin patches and corn mazes will allow dogs – just call ahead to ask. Wherever you go, be a good canine ambassador by always cleaning up after your dog.

If take your dog trick or treating, don’t forget to apply reflective strips to the costume so that your dog will be highly visible in the dark.Last but not least, make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations to keep her fully protected against contagious diseases. These simple tips should keep you and your dog having a howling good time this Halloween!