By, Katy Cable-TWR/A 3 min. Read
BOO👻! It's Halloween time and nobody could be more excited! Although CoVid 19 has put a damper on trick-or-treating and most events, I’ve always loved this holiday. What could be better than dressing up as whoever or whatever you want while also going door-to-door scoring free candy. I will never outgrow that! I love that all the cobwebs and dust around my house just enhance the scary decor! I was so eager to begin the season I dragged out all our scary decorations before we were even in the month of October.
But in all my excitement I completely lost sight of little Olive. My husband Rick, who loves this holiday as much as I do, came out in a scary mask looking like a 200 year-old crusty sea monster, and Olive started frantically barking and darted behind the couch for cover. We felt terrible giving her such a fright. Even when Olive watched Rick slowly put the mask on in front of her she still barked and ran away the minute it covered his face. And it only got worse.
My little Pug Olive isn’t alone when it comes to “getting spooked” by Halloween! Think about it, a dog witnesses a barrage of boisterous costumed strangers pounding on the door. Their normally safe environment is now dark or billowing with fog, candles, and flashing lights. Their highly sensitive ears pick up sounds of dogs barking, cats hissing, chains clanking, footsteps, plus deafening screams and moans. If you’re not careful, pets can literally be “scared to death!” Many pet owners, myself included, get so caught up in the fun they can easily forget how frightening things can be for a fluffy and Fido! Halloween is one if the busiest holidays for pet emergencies so here are a few “TRICKS AND TREATS” to keep your pet safe!
1. Keep Your Pet Calm: A frightened pet can react by barking incessantly, losing bladder control, racing out the door or escaping, and often with aggression and biting. Keep your dog happy and calm with CBD treats or oil. CBD doesn’t contain harmful THC and will do wonders for calming a frantic pet.
2. Keep your pets safe inside. Not everyone has good intentions and there are always several awful stories about killed, tormented, injured, or stolen pets on Halloween. Don't allow your dog to be the helpless victim of an evil prankster.
3. Keep your pets away from the front door. The constant knocking or ringing of the doorbell and excited chanting "trick-or-treaters" can send dogs into protective mode. Don't risk your doggie bolting out the door and running away or getting hit by a vehicle. Also, you don't want your terrified dog biting a costumed visitor.
4. Be careful with decorations. I've seen wagging dog tails knock over candles and nearly burn down a house. I've witnessed many excited pets jump up on tables, knocking over candles, eating harmful foods and causing total mayhem! Make sure all decorations are secured and not in reach of pets. Check that they cannot get trapped or entangled in large spider web decorations. Also, they may think decor is a chew-toy and eat something hazardous if it's within their reach.
5. It should go without saying not to give your dog candy. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be lethal if ingested. Lollipop sticks can be a chocking hazard or cause damage to internal organs if swallowed. Ditto for caramel apples and the wooden sticks. Foil wrappers can be as sharp as razors if swallowed. The very worst are the sugar-free gum and treats which contain toxic Xylitol. Dogs love the smell and bright colors of sugary candy and it just takes a few minutes of distractions to realize your dog has consumed an entire bowl of Halloween goodies. Even dog treats can cause major GI problems if too many are consumed. Remember, ONE, SMALL dog treat, or a few healthy nibbles is PERFECT!
6. Use good judgement and think twice before you take your dog in the car or out with the kids trick-or-treating. All the crowds and excitement might turn your normally chill dog into a terrified, aggressive or protective bully. It may be way too distracting to manage both costumed kids AND a dog that gets freaked!
👻If you do venture out with your pet for Halloween festivities here are a few tips:
1. Give costumes a trial run to let your dog get used to them. Make sure their costume is not too binding or restrictive and that your pet can walk normally. Be very careful of masks. Dogs need to be able to see and breathe with ease. Nothing should go over their nose. Be extremely careful about dogs overheating, especially Pugs, Bulldogs and other flat-nosed (brachy) breeds. Make sure dogs can freely drink water in their costume. Some dogs (like my Olive) simply don't do well with costumes. Perhaps a lighted collar, decorative harness or bandana would be a better option.
2. Make sure your dog is micro-chipped and wearing a collar or harness with your contact number on the tag. If you will be out after dark, add reflective strips to your pet's costume and grab a small light to attach to their collar so they remain visible.
3. BE AWARE! While you are admiring those amazing costumes, your dog could well be devouring chocolate bars someone tossed on the sidewalk.
If you are planning on hosting a Halloween bash, consider keeping your dog safe at a boarding facility like Petsmart’s Pet’s hotel.
With guests coming in and out, even if your dog is secluded in a quiet bedroom, it just takes one person to open a door and BOOM! Your dog escapes. Loud guests in strange costumes can scare and overwhelm even a normally easy-going dog. Some guests aren't familiar with pets and don't know alcohol, sweets and many human-foods can be deadly. A well-intentioned guest wanting to indulge your dog may bring them undue harm. Even if they aren't offered, a cup left on a table or half-eaten plates of food and desserts laying around can be far too tempting and could make your dog very sick. It's very difficult to keep your eyes on pets while hosting a party. Don't take the risk. PetsHotel and other boarding facilities have special packages and fun activities planned. This way you won't end up with a real Halloween horror of a sick or injured dog on your hands.
This year in particular, Halloween may be a perfect night to bake some healthy treats, stay in, cuddle up and enjoy watching a Halloween movie with your furry best-friend. If you can't stay in with your dog, give them some yummy CBD calming treats, put them in a quiet room with some soothing music, low lights and douse the room in some lavender oil. I recommend, if possible, take your dog out during the day for a good run, a long brisk walk and plenty of exercise. This should wear them out and burn off excess energy. Make sure they potty before all the festivities begin at dark.
If you're looking for more great tips and fun activities you can do WITH your dog, check out: http://weeklyrunt.weebly.com/
So go EAT, DRINK, and be SCARY! 👻
Have a wonderful 🎃Halloween!
Pugs and Kisses! Katy & Olive