How dog owners can enjoy a happy howl-o-ween

Pet owners will dress up millions of dogs for Halloween parades, parties, pictures and contests.
Pet owners will dress up millions of dogs for Halloween parades, parties, pictures and contests. File photo

As widely celebrated as Halloween is, it’s no surprise that the day brings some worries for dog owners, not to mention an increase in the number of calls to the pet poison hotline. Whether you plan to have your dog dressed in the cutest doggie costume ever, or you just need to get through the day, there are certain precautions that dog owners should take to keep their four-legged friends safe.

The American Kennel Club shares these tips to have a happy, healthy holiday with your dog:

Costume: If you decide to dress up your pet in a costume, supervise him at all times. Make sure it fits properly and is not in the way of his breathing, eyesight or hearing. If your dog swallows any elastic or decorative items, it could cause intestinal obstructions or choking.

Think ahead: If you are trying to avoid the Halloween festivities, make an effort to walk your dog earlier in the day while it is still light outside to avoid distractions and dangers. Your dog may find candy, wrappers and broken eggs on lawns and streets. Make sure these tempting treats stay out of your dog’s reach.

No candy: A dog’s digestive system is not adapted for sweets. Lots of sugar-free gum, candy and mints contain Xylitol, which can be toxic. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be extremely harmful and sometimes fatal to dogs. Baking chocolate is especially high in this chemical. Keep candy and sweets out of your dog’s reach. If you think your dog may have ingested something, contact your veterinarian or the pet poison hotline right away.

Candle safety: Be careful about where you place candles and jack-o’-lanterns. They can easily be knocked over by your dog’s wagging tail and burn your dog or start a fire. Make sure these items are out of your dog’s reach.

Trick-or-treaters: Children in costumes can frighten dogs. Make sure your dog is in a secure room where he feels safe when you answer the door. If you want your dog to greet trick-or-treaters, always keep him on a leash. Your dog may be stressed by the noise, activity or simply the interruption of his normal routine.

Keep your dog inside: Don’t leave your dog unattended outside on Halloween, even if he is behind a fence. Pranksters may target your dog with eggs, and people may be tempted to give your dog harmful treats and candy.