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Tips for a Horror Free Halloween for You and Your Dog

This is the time of year you are probably going to have more visitors knocking on your door or ringing the bell than at any other time of year.

Consider putting your dog in a quieter part of the house away from the front door with its constant opening and closing. This may help avoid your dog seeing an open door and attempting to make a run for it or being scared by larger groups arriving wearing scary costumes. An open door can be an invitation for some to venture out on their own. In the unlikely event they do manage to take themselves off, make sure your canine friend has all its microchip details up to date and any ID tags are clearly visible with all the relevant information. In a quieter part of the house they can be left with a radio playing music or a favourite toy to keep them happy. Make sure they have access to fresh water.

If your dog is one who will bark  every time someone comes to your door, it might be worth disconnecting the doorbell or putting a sign up to ask trick or treaters to knock quietly. If you have a very nervous dog, the sign might even request no trick or treaters to call at all. My favourite posting on Facebook at the moment is a picture of a door mat. On it is says ‘ Please text when you get here. No need to knock and get the dogs involved!’

Consider walking your canine friend earlier in the day to avoid encounters with people wearing scary costumes. Masks are particularly frightening for dogs. If you will be wearing a costume yourself, change into it without your dog seeing you.

Remember fireworks are often ready to buy at this time of year and many people use them as part of the Halloween celebrations.  It is estimated that 45% of dogs show signs of fear when they hear the noise of fireworks. Walking your dog in the daylight, closing windows and curtains can all help to muffle noise.

Hide the sweets!

You may be aware that chocolate and sweet things like raisins are poisonous for dogs, in some cases even fatal. Chocolate contains an ingredient called Theobromine. It can cause problems with the heart, vomiting and diarrhoea. Dogs metabolise chocolate much slower than us humans so you may not see signs for a while after ingestion.

Many sweets contain the low calorie sweetener Xylitol which in some cases has proved to be more poisonous than chocolate.  Dogs which have eaten food containing Xylitol are at risk of developing hypoglycaemia ( low blood sugar level) seizures, liver failure and death.

Spooky Halloween Decorations

To help create a spooky atmosphere, many of you will be lighting candles and carving pumpkins into wonderful masterpieces.

Dogs are often attracted to bright lights especially in a darken environment. Ensure candles are not at a level where they can be investigated by a curious canine or knocked with a wagging tail. Never leave your dog unattended with a lit candle even if it is inside a pumpkin.

Have your vets contact details handy if you are worried about your dog having eaten something it shouldn’t or just need advice. If you are going to be out and about and leaving your dog with a pet sitter, make sure they know the details too.

You know your dog better than anyone and will know what to put into place to make it fun and stress free for them as well as yourselves.


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