Peek-a-boo! Halloween is almost here and I can't wait! Permission to dress up and become 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 holiday. I was so eager for this holiday, I dragged out all our decor before we were even in the month of October. But in all my excitement I completely lost sight of little Olive. My husband Rick 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. Olive doesn't like our big spiders, monsters, talking skeletons and fun Halloween decor. Unlike Raisin who loved costumes and attention, Olive won't even wear a collar happily and is uncomfortable with too much human attention. So, in learning to deal with a frightened dog on Halloween, and helping you not run into unwanted fright, here are a few tips and things to be aware of courtesy of Banfield Veterinary Hospitals and PetSmart.
1. Keep your pets safe inside. Not everyone has good intentions and there are always several awful stories about killed, tournented, injured, or stolen pets on Halloween. Don't allow your dog to be the helpless victim of an evil prankster.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 carmel apples and the wooden sticks. Foil wrappers can be as sharp as razors (remember last week's blog story) if swallowed. 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 dog treat, or a few healthy nibbles is PERFECT!
5. 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-noses 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 or bandana would be a better option.
2. Make sure your dog is microchipped 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 or run to PetSmart 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.
Speaking of PetSmart if you are planning on hosting a Halloween bash, consider keeping your dog safe at PetSHotel. http://pets.petsmart.com/services/petshotel/
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 the 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 in a table or half-eaten plates of food and desserts laying around can be far too tempting and may 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 has special packages and fun activities planned. This was you won't end up with a real Halloween horror of a sick or injured dog on your hands.
I recommend, if possible, take your dog out for a good run, a long brisk walk and lots of exercise. This should wear them out and burn off excess energy. If you can't stay in with your dog, put them in a quiet room with some soothing music, low lights and douse the room in some lavender oil. 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 are looking for some fun ideas check my home page for events in the So Cal. area.
So go EAT, DRINK, and be SCARY! 👻
Have a wonderful 🎃Halloween