Tricks — and Treats — Are For Kids!

Yellow Lab halloween dogIt’s that apple-crunching, pumpkin carving, leaf raking time of the year, culminating in that most fun and festive of holidays—Halloween! But while good treats and tricks can be fun for kids, the holiday can be downright scary for your pet, unless you take precautions to keep your pooch safe from hidden hazards.

While kids might be allowed to indulge in Halloween treats, your dog NEVER should. Chocolate in all its yummy glory is extremely toxic for your pet, and the sugar substitute xylitol can also cause serious issues for your dog. Rule of thumb, if you want to get your pooch involved in the holiday festivities, purchase a pet-approved treat from a pet store or in the pet department…not in the candy aisle!

What’s Halloween without a glowing, scary pumpkin or glow sticks and jewelry? Unfortunately, potential for problems for your pet. The pumpkin can inadvertently get tipped by your dog and become a fire hazard, and glow sticks and jewelry can be chewed and present difficulties for your dog. Keep the glowing, scary stuff away from your pet—and problems.

Strangers—and weirdly dressed strangers, at least in the eyes of your dog—can disrupt your pets’ sense of safety and home. If at all possible, keep your dog away from the door during the trick-or-treat phase of the evening. Provide a safe place for him or her, especially if he or she is wary of strangers. And don’t keep your pet tied out where marauding pirates and pretty princesses can’t “spook” your pet.

Taking your pet along while trick or treating and the constant open and closing of the door for little ghosts and goblins both provide an attractive escape possibility for your pet. Make sure your pet has proper ID in case he or she gets away from you. An up-to-date collar ID or chip could put the “treat” back into the day.

Be wary if you decide to disguise your dog as a cat or bird or any other animal or person by getting him or her into a Halloween costume. Make sure your pet is comfortable in a costume, trying it on prior to the big day. If your pet seems comfortable, make sure the costume is safe for your dog…can he or she see, breathe, bark and comfortably move around? Are there any small parts that could pose a choking hazard?

Dressing your pet is really not recommended by the ASPCA unless you know your pet is comfortable and happy doing so. Perhaps this Halloween—and every day—the best costume comes in the furry suit your dog was born in. Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!