Yes, Halloween can be lots of fun for humans. But, make no bones about it, it can be paws-itively horrifying for your furry, four-legged friends. Starting with the random costumed visitors dropping by throughout the night—to you and/or your kids playing dress-up making him/her look like a ridiculously silly stuffed animal—these can all induce fear, anxiety and even agitation. Our dogs are creatures of habit, so our goal as responsible (and loving) pet owners is to limit the number of variables which will cause upset to our pets. Listed below are a few tips and resources to help your dog (and you) survive HOWL-O-WEEN!
1. Don’t Be Mean!
I’m gonna start with this one because it’s the easiest thing to just NOT do. Yet for some reason many folks think it’s funny to scare their dog while dressed in costume. Doing this causes the fight or flight instinct. While you may think you know your dog’s temperament, you may be unpleasantly surprised at his/her reaction when they’re introduced to something they’ve never seen before, possibly resulting in aggressive behavior. SO, DON’T DO THIS AT HOME!
2. Use a Crate or Leash
I have 3 dogs. And when that doorbell rings, well, let’s just say I’m not the only one it drives crazy. The entire neighborhood hears it. They’ve said so. Aside from the chaos of dog’s barking, howling and running to the door, you have a responsibility to keep those trick-or-treaters safe. All foreseeable problems solved by crating or leashing your dog in another part of the home such as a spare bedroom. Better yet, if you’re not going to be the one at home handing out candy, take your buddy out for the evening to one of these Bay Area Halloween 2016 pet events.
3. Do Not Leave Halloween Candy Out
Candy and sweets in general are not healthy for dogs and can cause digestive problems—while chocolate contains methylxanthines—which can be toxic to dogs. If you know or feel your dog ingested chocolate, you can calculate potential toxicity levels here. Or, for more serious situations contact the Pet Poison Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Have some of your buddy’s favorite treats close by so he/she doesn’t feel left out of the pack when all the kids are enjoying theirs. If you feel your dog ingested something they weren’t supposed to, keep an eye out for signs of distress such as: vomiting, diarrhea, refusing food, unable to keep food down, straining during defecation, blood in the stool, unable to get comfortable when resting, pacing and overall lethargy.
4. Don’t Leave Pets Outside on Halloween
As pet lovers and owners, we could not possibly think about harming any animal, let alone our own. Unfortunately, there are sadistic, evil “pranksters” (more like criminals), that seek out and harm animals—especially on Halloween. Black cats are at the highest risk of harm on the days leading up to, and proceeding Halloween. So, please keep all pets—even outdoor pets—inside or in the garage this Halloween season.
5. Mandatory ID Tags
If your dog is not averse to playing dress up on Halloween, be sure to keep their tags fastened on their collar at all times. It’s also important that you keep your pets tags updated with current information: pet’s name, address (this is optional as you may not want this info displayed, but highly recommended) and owner’s phone number. There’s even an app called Finding Rover that utilizes facial recognition software to help find lost dogs. Microchipping can also be helpful and may even be required in some states. However, this practice has been deemed inhumane by some pet owners and organizations.
Well folks, I hope I’ve put down some valuable resources for you to pick up this Halloween. Much of which is common sense. Treat your furry friends the way you’d like to be treated, and have a very fun, safe HOWL-O-WEEN!!