The Daily Spike: Halloween (and HOWL-oween) safety tips for dogs

Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping, footballs are flying, and dogs are in costumes all over my Instagram. It must be late October!

Spike and I have been low-key these past two weeks, managing his pneumonia and recovery, and thankfully he’s back to 100 percent. But as a result, I’m very behind in getting him a costume! I asked my fellow Canine Companions friends for any ideas, and boy did they deliver!

Halloween is a fun time, for sure, but it can be very stressful for some dogs. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will hopefully make your dog’s night less ghoulish:

Costumes

  • Costumes should be easy to put on and take off.
  • Do not force a puppy, or their body parts, into a costume.
  • Costumes should only be worn when the puppy is actively supervised.
  • Do not obstruct the puppy’s vision, breathing, or ability to bark.
  • Avoid costumes with parts or pieces that can be easily chewed or swallowed.
  • Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury
  • Try the costume on once or twice before you plan to have a pet show it off. Make sure your dog is comfortable, or that its tail is wagging.

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Trick-or-Treating

You may want to leave your dog at home or in their crate while you go out trick-or-treating. The sights and sounds can be overwhelming for some.

If trick-or-treaters come to your door, you may want to put your dog in their kennel or in a room with a closed door. Between the doorbells and crazy costumes, some dogs get scared and could bolt out the door. One other option is to meet the trick-or-treaters with your dog on a leash. You know your dog best, so just make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable.

Decorations

Be careful with your Halloween decorations so your dog doesn’t end up eating a plastic spider or rubber witch. Pumpkins and decorative corn are non-toxic, but could make your dog sick if ingested. Lit jack-o-lanterns or electric decorations can also present risk if you have a dog that likes to chew on cords. Glow sticks, which are more popular every year with trick-or-treaters, could become a tempting chew toy for your puppy. Though also non-toxic, the chemicals inside the glow stick taste terrible and can make your dog sick. No one wants a sick dog on Halloween!

Especially not Spike.

Especially not Spike. (Jennifer Williams)

Candy/Chocolate

This brings us to the most important item: Candy can be very dangerous for dogs. Chocolate and sugar-free candies using the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems for dogs or cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian immediately and/or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Happy Howl-oween everyone. And enjoy the costumed photos of Spikes friends!

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For more information about Canine Companions for Independence, visit CCI.org.