Since Halloween is in a couple of weeks, I thought I would write about some precautions you can take when it comes to your pooch. If you’re anything like me, often times I am too wrapped up in costume ideas, making sure I have enough candy for trick-or-treaters, and other fall festivity preparation that I rarely think of how I can I be proactive to protect my dog.
1. Don’t leave Halloween candy or wrappers lying around. This goes for sitting your candy bowl down for a second while you’re waiting for the next round of trick-or-treaters to come as well as leaving a few candy wrappers or a couple of treats on the end table at home. A good portion of candy has chocolate in it, and as most of you know, chocolate is poisonous to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more poisonous. Even if it isn’t chocolate, the sugar content in candy isn’t good and it could even become a choking hazard depending on the size of your dog. As far as wrappers go, any type of plastic or tinfoil is bad for your dog’s stomach because it can block the intestines and could also pose as a choking hazard.
2. Do consider leaving your dog inside. If your dog is like mine, he likes to greet whoever comes to the door immediately by going out to the front step to greet them. He is friendly but a dog shouldn’t be entering and exiting the house when people you do not know are coming to your door. Also if your dog likes to bark, consider putting him in a room for a couple of hours so your guests can have a non-threatening (or annoying) trick-or-treat experience. Try taking your pup for a walk long before trick or treaters come so that way they won’t be completely restless. Last year we opened up our garage and set up a table and sat our candy bowls on top of that. Max was outside with us on a leash wearing his Ninja Turtles costume. He is not a threat and was right by our feet the entire time.
3. Don’t put a carved pumpkin with candles inside within reach of animals. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Your dog can eat pumpkin, but the flame inside of the pumpkin is hazardous for your pets.
4. Do continue your flea prevention medication. Just because there have been some chilly nights does not mean that fleas aren’t still out there. The fall is prime time for little pests to show up.
5. Do involve your dog in some safe fall festivities. I have seen plenty of costume contests for dogs at local pet bakeries and pumpkin patches. However, make sure that your dog’s costume does not impair their vision or their ability to breathe. Also, make sure that there are no small pieces that they could bite off and choke on. Another perk of fall is that dogs love pumpkin treats, so you can bake them up something yummy. Just try and make sure that if you buy any canned pumpkin it has a low or no amount of sugar. There is a big difference between pumpkin pie mix/spice mix and regular pumpkin. Look for pureed pumpkin or basic canned pumpkin.
6. Do keep an eye out for environmental allergens or poisons. Fall is a popular time for your dog to experience some allergies. Keep an eye out for their symptoms and be sure to talk to your vet if you think your pet is allergic to something. Also be sure to keep an eye out for mushrooms as these can be very poisonous to animals as well. When you are cleaning up the yard for the year, be sure to properly dispose of any bulbs as those can be poisonous to pets as well. Acorns and certain types of leaves are also hazardous, so if you know that you have acorns in your front yard, then keep a special eye out while your pet is outside.
To be sure that what your pet is coming into contact with is safe, check out the ASPCA here.