Halloween is fast approaching and Bay Area residents are eager to get in costume, enjoy scary thrills and eat plenty of candy. The corn maze in Livermore is open daily, pumpkin patches from Petaluma to Pinole are quickly being emptied and soon the hills of San Francisco will be crawling with happy trick-or-treaters. But before evoking Casper, take a minutes to plan for the holiday and make sure your dog stays safe
1. Is your dog mellow and unflappable or have they ever been shy or nervous around loud noises, strange environments, children or the dark? Do they jump on guests, get into everything or act a wee bit territorial on their turf? If your dog won’t enjoy all the hoopla on Halloween night (and many don’t) or if you can’t supervise them thoroughly, they’ll be better off secured in a quiet room or boarding out of the house.
2. Candy is a staple this time of year but can hold innumerable dangers for your dog. Chocolate is notorious for being toxic but candy or gum made with the sweetener xylitol can quickly be fatal. Candy wrappers, lollipop and carmel apple sicks can all cause internal problems if swallowed so make sure Rover doesn’t find any on the ground or sneak a nibble from a goodie bag.
3. Costumes and masks are not familiar to your dog and may frighten them, even if they know the person inside. Costumes can make funny noises, cause the wearer to move in an unusual way and many toddler costumes are strikingly similar to plush play toys. Monitor your dog very, very closely and remove them from the situation if they seem at all uncomfortable as you don’t want them to say “Get Away” by growling or possibly biting.
4. If you get trick-or-treaters at your home, expect lots of doorbell ringing and door opening Halloween night. If your dog cannot be secured in a room away from the door, they should have someone dedicated to supervising them. If you’re greeting kids and holding a bowl of candy, that means a second person should be monitoring the dog.
5. A Dachshund wearing a hot dog costume can be downright adorable but not every dogs enjoys getting all dolled up. If you’re a dog-dresser, take care that outfit fit correctly and doesn’t impede vision. breathing or movement. If your dog doesn’t honestly love wearing stuff, consider a festive collar or leash instead.
6. Jack-o-Lanterns with a candle inside can burn curious noses, spider webbing and corncob decorations can cause real problems if swallowed and a hanging skeleton might seem like a great chew toy to your pooch. Decorations are fun but make sure they are out of Rover’s reach, that they’re non-toxic and that your dog is supervised when around them.
With a little planning, Halloween can be a fun holiday for the entire family. Stay safe out there and have a frighteningly good time. Subscribe now to this column to recieve articles in your inbox and if you have comments or suggestions for a topic, please leave them in the space below.