With Halloween quickly approaching, keeping your dog safe is a top priority.  It is exciting to attend Halloween parties, costume contests, and walk the neighborhood but it requires a lot of supervision to ensure the safety of your dog.  Distractions from ghostly goblins are imminent but what do you need to know to keep your dog safe during this spooky holiday?  We have created our top tips to keep your dog safe this Halloween.

7 Tips for keeping your dog safe on Halloween:

  1. Monitor food samples that are being given to your dog.  So many people feel delighted to hand your dog a treat but many dogs have food allergies, which limits feeding options.  Always ask the owner for approval before handing food or treats to a dog!
  2. When at parties or public events, continue to supervise your dog to avoid ingesting food left out on tables or dropped on the floor.  This step sounds simple enough but when attending a busy social function, it can be difficult to constantly monitor your dog.  Some foods can have toxic ingredients like xylitol (a sugar substitute) or chocolate, which could cause illness or injury to your dog.  Xylitol poisoning can result in depression, a staggered or drunk walk, vomiting, shakiness, rapid heart beat, or death.  Chocolate overdose can also cause similar symptoms of depression, vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, increased urination, and a fast heart beat.  If you feel your dog has ingested anything toxic or harmful, make sure to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible for emergency evaluation.
  3. Make sure your dog can move comfortably in his costume.  A dog that is not used to wearing a costume can feel anxious, especially if the costume fits tight and restricts movement.  It may be a good idea to acclimate the dog to wearing a costume at home for short periods of time before going to a longer public event.  This will help to reduce bad behavior when attending social functions.
  4. Make sure your dog can be seen if walking around at night (this is especially true for dark dogs who can be difficult to see at night).  We like to use an LED dog collar that emits bright light to signal that our dog is in the area.  Drivers, bike riders, or even other pedestrians can easily overlook a small dog walking down the sidewalk, especially if darker in color.  Dog owners should always be vigilant of drivers, or other moving objects, and exercise caution as needed.
  5. Dog-proof your house for holidays.  It should be intuitive but keep cords and dangly Halloween decorations away from high traffic areas where your pet could get tangled.  Also, pumpkins with candles could be knocked over by your dog creating a fire hazard so keep lit pumpkins away from animal areas or use battery powered candles.
  6. On Halloween, remove pets from yard and keep them in the safety of your home. Vandalizers, tricksters, and pranksters have been known to play harmful tricks on animals left outside, especially black-colored animals.  We hate bringing up this issue because harming animals is inexcusable but, nonetheless, keep your animals safe inside!  Also, keeping your animal confined to a room prevents the animal from wandering or escaping the home while tending to trick-or-treaters at the door.
  7. Make sure your pet has on animal tags for identification if an escape occurs.  Animals can escape even under the most strict supervision.  Make sure their tags are up-to-date with current phone numbers and contact information.

Halloween can be a fun time to spend with your dog.  Dressing up in costume creates socializing opportunities to meet new and old friends, and it is fun for the whole family.  Whether you attend a Halloween dog happy hour or participate in a weekend of dog costume contests, make sure to be creative, be safe, and have some fun!