Truth or dare. As in, would you go with the familiar or the unknown? For dogs it’s predictability, paws down. Comfy spots, routine routes, reliable times. Sure, a novel scent or a new toy is cool. But the strange shebang known as Halloween can throw pups into a tizzy with all the unexpected activity. Doorbells! Laughter! Crinkly wrappers! Little people running! Abrupt quiet. Aaaannnnd repeat! If they could speak, you’d likely hear one of the following: a) What. the. pup. just happened? b) Make it stop! Or c) Here they come! Who’s that? Why are they leaving? Where’d they go? Here they come!
Halloween is right around the (dark and demented) corner, so bone up on these common-sense tips to help keep your furry friend safe and sane during the spooky shenanigans.
See No Evil
Costumes and masks on beloved hoomans can lead to mild confusion or full-scale panic attacks. Add neighbors and strangers to the mix, and your pup may deal with his or her fear with fight, flight, or a major freak-out. Whether the action is doorbell-driven or you’re hosting a houseful, tuck them away in a quiet spot and give them something to chew or a treat-stuffed toy to keep them occupied. (Be sure to check in from time to time!) Hitting the streets with the shorties? Leave the four-leggeds at home, paw-lease.
Taste No Evil
In some nabes, Halloween treats have taken a turn toward healthful, but candy still abounds and most leads to distress for dogs who ingest it. Beyond tummy trauma brought on the classic culprit, chocolate, other scary substances include xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in gum and other goodies), tough-to-chew textures like caramel and taffy, sucker sticks, and wrappers. Some pass, some don’t — not a chance you wanna take. Plus, excess sugar is simply hard on dogs. Restrict all access. Treats aside, is your dog the indiscriminate type who wouldn’t make a decision before tasting? Even decorations and costume accessories can be fair game for the curious. Be sure to consider placement and keep an eye on those tasty (?!) extras if your pal has an appetite for, well, anything.
Risk No Evil
You’ve relocated them to a safe place. You’ve removed edibles (term used loosely). You’ve retooled your design scheme with their welfare in mind. A few last bits and pieces of advice, because scared or determined pups have disappeared even under watchful eyes:
- Make sure they are wearing a collar with an ID tag.
- If they aren’t microchipped, do so ASAP.
- Have the Pet Poison Helpline number handy.
And if they’re in a canine costume for any part of the fright night festivities — and um, of course, they are — be sure they are comfortable (able to see and move freely) and not snacking on any part of their get-up. And for dog’s sake, take a pic and tag it with #SidewalkDog! Yappy Halloween, all.