Here are my “big 4” tips to keeping your dog safe this Halloween.
1. Holiday Cupboard: Start a tradition to keep all things Halloween locked up tight — candy, toys, glow bracelets, costumes, and decorations. By calling it a “Holiday” cupboard, bin, shelf, etc, your family can get into the habit of being mindful around keeping holiday props and foods out of your dog’s reach. It’s important to educate your family as to why this is important.
- Poison hazards: Xyilitol, even in a small amount is deadly to dogs. This ingredient is prominent in sugar-free gums (and their wrappers), but also sneaks up into other household products like toothpaste and mouthwash. If you haven’t already conditioned your family to read all labels for xylitol, then this is a great time to do it! Commit to a 100% xyilitol-free residence. As you already know or suspect: dogs should not eat any candy. You have probably heard of people foods, for example chocolate is bad for dogs as well.
- Props: Though not outright poisonous, glow bracelets and sticks are highly irritating to dogs. Other Halloween gear can pose dangers as well, for example choking hazards or intestinal blockages.
2. Decorate on High: This is another tradition that will help with holidays beyond Halloween. Make sure all decorations — including man-made, seasonal plants or fruits, and festive decorations — are out of reach! You don’t want your dog choking or getting a blockage from eating your decorations (like fake spiders and webs). Plants and fruits can be poisonous to your pets. And if left out too long in all their decorative glory, festive decorations can start to develop toxic mold too.
3. Safe and Sound: Whether you are expecting to receive trick-or-treaters or you will have your own trick-or-treaters dashing in and out of the house, make sure your dog is supervised, confined, or both. Know your dog and your environment. For example, where I live in downtown San Diego we get a lot of fireworks during the fourth of July. Year-round we also hear them, but the proximity and duration is not as intense. Because the proximity and the duration of the holiday fireworks cause too much stress in my dogs, my only plan on July 4 is to stay home and give them “boom boom treats.”
Check and re-check the floors and accessible table tops, etc for any dangers (candy, candy wrappers, plastic rings, etc).
If you have guests coming in, make sure that their coats and bags are stored up high too. I go over “house rules” whenever we have guests. I tell them about the time my sister left her purse on the rug and Theo ate her twenty dollar bill. I also typically make sure that my guests don’t have gum, just to be safe. Everything is “up and away” from my dogs.
4. Out and About: If you are taking your dog out, know that watching him is a full time role. This means if you have kids and a dog out with you, you should have one adult supervising the kids and one with eyes on your dog. Hawk-eye supervision because there is more commotion, more absent-mindedness, more dangers on the ground.
Bring your own treats for him and know how many he should have. Even if your neighbors offer a dog treat, simply ask that they give your dog your treat instead.
Keep and eye on how your doing is doing emotionally too. If you dog gets stressed, you should go home with him.
Did I miss a tip? Comment below!