Autumn Advice Part Two - Halloween!
Halloween is great fun for kids with their costumes and of course their "trick or treat" sweets, but it may not be so much fun for your dog. Here are a few tips to keep your dog happy:
SET UP A STAIR-GATE
With all the trick-or-treaters coming around, your front door is going to be opening A LOT. Set up a stair-gate or similar on an internal doorway so that your dog can't bolt out of the front door.
KEEP THEM IN A SEPARATE ROOM
Halloween night can be very disruptive for your dog, with lots of different people knocking on your door, which can be very scary and stressful for pets. Keep your dog in a separate room away from the front door to help minimise the disruption, and give him a kong or similar to keep him occupied
MAKE A DEN
Make a den or safe space for your dog to retreat to if it all gets too much. This could be as simple as putting blankets over the crate if your dog is crate-trained, so that they can get away from all the excitement. Make sure family members - and particularly smaller ones - understand that your dog should be left alone when in his safe space.
KEEP COLLARS AND TAGS ON
Even if your dog normally doesn't wear their collar in the house, it's a good idea to keep it on for Halloween - just in case your dog does escape. Having the collar and tag means your dog can be identified if found and returned to you as quickly as possible. Also make sure the microchip details are up to date.
KEEP HUMAN TREATS AWAY FROM DOGS
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and many sweets include xylitol, a sugar substitute, which is also poisonous. Make sure you keep the Halloween sweets out of reach of your dog. Symptons of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures - consult your vet immediately if you believe you dog has eaten any sweets or chocolate.
WASTE NOT WANT NOT
Pumpkin is great for your dogs to eat! It aids digestion and can help with constipation and diarrhoea. Once you've finished carving your pumpkin you can puree the pumpkin flesh and mix it in with their food. You can also roast the seeds and sprinkle them on top. For obvious reasons, make sure your pumpkin is fresh before feeding it to your dog!
PUT DECORATIONS OUT OF YOUR DOG'S REACH
Halloween decorations are great fun, but can be tempting for your dog to chew! Put electrical cables out of the way or behind furniture so that they can't be reached by your furry friends.
If you are lighting your carved pumpkins with candles, make sure they are located somewhere your dog can't jump up and knock them over, as they could get burned or also cause a fire risk.
DOGGY COSTUMES - YES OR NO?
Some dogs will be absolutely fine in a costume, others will hate it. Don't dress up your dog unless you are absolutely sure that they'll love it, and make sure the costume doesn't restrict their movement, sight or ability to breathe or bark. Check for anything that could present a choking hazard.
If you are intending to dress your dog in a costume, try it before the day and if they show any signs of distress or discomfort - buy a festive bandana instead or let them celebrate Halloween the natural way.
DON'T TAKE FIDO TRICK OR TREATING
Peak Trick or Treating time is going to be very busy with lots of noises, distractions, sights and sounds that your dog won't be used to. Even the most socialised dog can struggle in this type of environment.
Walk your dog early in the day and let him rest quietly at home while you take the kids out trick or treating.
SAY NO TO TRICK OR TREAT
If your dog is very nervous or reactive, even the preventative measures to make him calmer at home may not be enough. If you don't want trick or treaters to call, there are lots of different posters you can download to display on your door or in your window, telling people whether or not to call at your home. Here's an example from my local area: View poster
Do you have any Halloween tips to keep your pets happy? Let me know in the comments and have a Happy Halloween!