Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs and Puppies

Halloween can be lots of fun for your dog. Some owners even like to dress up their pets in Halloween costumes, either to go out trick-or-treating or to go to a nice doggy costume party. You can check your local pet store to see if they will be having a fun holiday get-together for pets. However, Halloween can also pose dangers for pets. Here are some safety tips to help keep your dog or puppy safe this Halloween.

Common Dog Problems during Halloween

1. No Chocolate for Dogs! Most pet owners already know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but it bears repeating. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your dog. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is related to caffeine. It acts as a slight stimulant for humans but it can really do a number on dogs, causing increased heart rate, trembling, seizures, and, if your dog eats enough of it, it can even lead to death.

Dark chocolate contains about 390 mg of theobromine per ounce; semisweet chocolate has about 150 mg per ounce; and milk chocolate contains about 44 mg per ounce. A fatal dose can occur if your dog eats between 50 and 100 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight. Cats are even more sensitive. So keep the chocolate candy away from your pet!

2. Keep Other Halloween Treats Away from Your Dog. Chocolate isn’t the only dangerous treat your dog can eat. Raisins and grapes, macadamia nuts, nutmeg, candy foil wraps, and pennies (which contain zinc) can all be toxic to dogs. Diet treats which contain the substance xylitol, found in sugar-free candy, gum, and cookies, can also be deadly. Don’t leave candy and treats lying around for your dog to eat even if they don’t contain chocolate.

3. Be Careful with Jack O’Lanterns and Candles. If you plan to have Jack O’Lanterns or candles with real flames for Halloween, keep them well away from areas where your dog will be. Dogs may see Jack O’Lanterns as potential food and they can easily knock over pumpkins and candles, starting a fire in your home. If possible, use small flashlights instead of candles.

4. Be Careful with Decorations. If you plan to decorate your home for Halloween, be careful with the decorations. Artificial spider webs are not the best thing for your dog to eat. If you use polyurethane glue to put up decorations, dogs are inclined to eat the glue which can be dangerous once in their intestines.

5. Be Careful with Halloween Costumes. It’s great fun to put your dog in a Halloween Costume but dogs don’t always enjoy them. Your dog may try to pull his costume off and become entangled in it. If he tries to chew pieces of it off he could end up choking on it. Always supervise your dog when he’s wearing the costume and remove it when the fun is over.

Halloween Dog Tips

6. Watch Out for Mischief Makers. Halloween can bring out the worst in some people so do be careful with your pets around Halloween. Make sure your gates are locked securely and keep your pets indoors when you can’t supervise them outdoors. Pets can be stolen at Halloween or go missing so exercise caution.

If you follow the suggestions offered here you and your dog should have a great Halloween. Watch what your dog eats, be careful with candles and decorations, supervise him when he’s in a costume, and keep an eye out for anyone who means mischief. Have a spook-tacular Halloween!

Dog care and behavior counselor with 15 years of experience. I hold a M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Animal Behavior.

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