Halloween is fun for kids and families, but the holiday can pose a danger to our pets, especially dogs, if we're not careful. Dr. Cary Waterhouse of Lake Union Veterinary Clinic shares some tips for a fun and safe Halloween for everyone.
The Great Escape: Next to the fourth of July, more pets get lost at Halloween than at any other holiday of the year. Between the bizarre sights and smells and the constant flow of new people, even the tamest cats and dogs may take the opportunity to head for the hills. Even the best trained dog may decide “enough is enough,” and make a mad dash out the open door. If the sounds and activity are not sitting well with your pooch, consider retiring them to a quiet room in another part of the home, or putting up a barrier (like a baby gate) in front of the main door. And as always, make sure your pet has an ID tag or microchip.
Candy Envy: An excited dog may see you passing out “treats” and think they should get one too; even if that means taking it out the mini Superman’s hand or sticking his muzzle in a Trick or Treater’s bag. Chocolate is toxic – I think we are all aware of this. But be careful with other treats – the sugars, fats, and wrappers of most confections can cause some pretty severe gastrointestinal side effects. Monitor the candy dish and be sure to let the kids know there is a NO CANDY policy for the family pets.
Door Duty: Dogs are territorial and curious by nature and with so much action at the front door, the dog may be inclined to happily investigate the guests or alternately, bar the door. Play it safe – if guests and new people at the door make fido angry on a normal day, give a time out in another room, away from the commotion.
Stranger Danger: Even though dogs have a much keener sense of smell than we do, it doesn’t mean they’re going to recognize the neighborhood children when they are fully dressed up like Harry Potter, Jack Sparrow or Angry Birds. If the normally friendly dog starts barking at the wands, swords and heavy metal, how will those children react? Remember that the trick-or-treaters look like little ghosts and goblins to your pet. With all the excitement even the most familiar person could startle an unsuspecting dog. Play it safe – make introductions WITHOUT the mask.