Halloween a tricky time for pets and their owners

As you prepare for Halloween, think about your dog. Dogs can become extremely ill or even die from eating chocolate. Dogs can also become agitated and more during trick-or-treat time. Preparing in advance of the day can help to eliminate possible problems.

The first thing is to be sure that any candy you buy for trick-or-treaters is put away securely, out of your dog’s reach. Also, when your children return home from trick-or-treating, be sure their candy is kept out of your dog’s reach. Dog’s noses are much better at sniffing out candy then you would think. Be sure candy is placed up out of their reach and secured behind a cabinet door.

Also, be sure Halloween decorations are placed out of your pet’s reach. Dogs and cats are often fascinated by the glittery and sparkly decorations we use at holidays, but they can be dangerous for them. They can ingest these decorations, resulting in intestinal blockages, often requiring emergency surgery and possibly causing death. Small mammals, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and others, can also ingest these decorations and suffer as a result.

Also be careful during trick-or-treat times. Cats and dogs can sneak out of your home during these times as you are opening and closing the doors more often. Also, dogs can become very excited and confused with the children dressed in costumes arriving at your door. Some dogs may become very protective and sometimes aggressive toward the children.

It is generally best to keep the dog secured away from the door area during trick-or-treating. This is where crate training comes in handy, as you can place the dog in his crate in an area away from the door. This will help to prevent accidental escape from the house and also keep the dog away from the children in costumes.

Additionally, some of the parents accompanying the trick-or-treaters often walk their dogs along with them, and keeping your pet secured away from the door can help to eliminate possible scuffles among the dogs.

If you are taking your dog trick-or-treating with your children, be sure to keep your dog under control. The dog will come into contact with other children dressed in costumes and possibly other dogs that are also accompanying these other children. Also remember to be a good doggy parent and clean up after your pet and dispose of it properly.

If your dog has even the slightest protective or aggressive nature, it should not be taken out during trick-or-treating. Only calm and well-socialized dogs should be allowed out during this time. Remember that children seeing a dog generally want to approach the dog and are not always aware of the dog possibly being scared or surprised by their costumes. As a responsible dog owner, you need to be aware of your dog’s personality and take appropriate steps to keep children safe and your dog under complete control.

So, in conclusion, be more aware and alert to possible dangers to your pet and to your pet’s reaction to trick-or-treaters. Keep your pet secure from open doors. Keep candy safely secured from your pet. And if your pet is going to be out and about, be sure it is safe to be around children in costumes and other dogs.

Cheryl Loveland is a dog groomer, pet-sitter, dog trainer and fosterer for many unwanted animals. She does rescue work for all types of animals and has owned or fostered most types of domestic animals and many wild ones. She currently resides with two bloodhounds, which she has shown in conformation and is currently training her male bloodhound for search-and-rescue work. Also residing with her are a bichon frisée, two cats and two birds. She welcomes comments, questions and suggestions for future articles at countryservice@comcast.net. Remember, she is not an expert: she offers her opinions and suggestions from her experience and research.