Letter: Ensure a Happy Halloween for Your Pets

These tips will ensure that your pets have a safe and comfortable Halloween.

The following letter was submitted by Lezle Stein, owner Handle with Care Dog Training in Mount Washington.

As much as Halloween can be a fun, exciting time for our children and ourselves it can be a frightening and dangerous time for our pets.

Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable Halloween for your pets.

1) Please leave your pets at home if you go out and trick-or-treat

Trick-or-treating can be frightening to a dog. It's not a bad idea to keep your pets confined away from all the front door activities for the evening. To prevent the possibility of a frightened dog biting or scaring someone, and to prevent your dog or cat from running out the door, let your dog spend the evening in her crate or confine them to another room, away from the front door.

Give them a favorite toy or bone so it doesn't feel like punishment.
A loud barking dog, friendly or not, could scare young children. Don't count on even the friendliest dog to remain calm and friendly on trick-or-treat night.

Costumed or masked trick-or-treaters, big and small, quiet or loud, even someone a dog is used to can cause even a normally calm dog to misbehave.

If you get a lot of trick-or-treaters, your dog may become nervous and upset by a non-stop ringing doorbell, doors opening and closing, and the commotion of a constant stream of loud, strange looking visitors.

2) Take the time to make sure your dogs ID tag is on

If you are a 100-percent sure your dog will be completely relaxed and no amount of noise, or comings and goings will affect her sweet and loving attitude, still be careful! Keep your dog on a leash and restrain her when someone is at the door for treats. If possible, don't leave your pets outside alone on Halloween, even in a fenced yard.

3) Keep candy out of your pet's reach

Candy, especially chocolate, must be kept out of a dog's reach. Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. Make sure everyone in the family including young children understands that they can not share chocolate treats with their dog.

Chocolate can cause restlessness, hyperactivity, vomiting, severe diarrhea, a rapid heart beat or arrhythmia, seizures and even death. Make sure your tired little ghosts and goblins don't leave their Halloween goody bags on the floor or any place where a dog can get at them. Your pet can also choke on candy wrappers. Ingesting tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.

4) Be mindful of fire hazards

Place candles and Jack O'Lanterns where they can't be knocked over. Be careful around those large wagging tails and curious pups. Besides the obvious fire danger, remember spilled hot wax can burn skin quickly. Also keep pets away from hanging decorations like streamers. Your pet could get tangled and they could also choke on them if they chew on them.

5) Think twice before dressing your pet

Halloween costumes can annoy animals and pose safety and health hazards, so think twice before dressing up the dog. Make sure the dog can breathe, see and hear, and that the costume is flame retardant. Remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed and swallowed. Avoid rubber bands, which can cut off the animal's circulation or, if accidentally left on, can burrow and cut into the animal's skin.

If the animal is very high-strung, consult your vet about tranquilizing for the night.

Now, go have fun on Halloween night knowing your dog and cat are safe and sound on Halloween night. Booooooooooooo!


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