TRICK OR TREAT FUN

imagesOctober 24, 2016 1:03 AM

TRICK OR TREAT FUN
Keeping pets safe at Halloween
KIMBERLY DUPPS TRUESDELL | The Journal Gazette

Ghouls and goblins, ghosts and clowns.

While the frightful sights that lurk around every corner come Halloween are all in good fun, the holiday can be a stressful and dangerous time for cats and dogs, according to Jessica Henry, executive director of the Allen County SPCA.

To make sure the night is fun for everyone in the family, here are some things to keep in mind.

Keep treats out of reach. “Candy is most common (danger) that parents and pet parents don’t think about,” Henry says.

Chocolate is harmful to dogs, as is xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is found in gum and other candy. Whether you are passing out candy or coming home with a sack, it’s best to keep it on a high counter or in a cabinet or place where a pet can’t reach it.

Just in case. But what if your dog had just one Tootsie Roll? And he weighs 75 pounds? Before your pet can stick its nose in the candy sack, Henry says owners should have the phone number of the emergency animal hospital at the ready. That way, if you have anything to worry about, you can double-check with a veterinarian.

Sneaking out. Frequently opening the door on Halloween can be prime time for your pet to escape, Henry says. She recommends crate training and keeping your pet in a crate or keeping your pet in a closed-off area of the house.

If you are going to have your dog in the living area, it’s best to have him microchipped and wearing a collar. “You’d be surprised how many pet owners don’t have tags with name and phone number,” she says.

High anxiety. “Sometimes the frequent doorbell ringing can be maddening, especially for dogs,” and can increase anxiety, Henry says. A pet that is experiencing anxiety can become skittish and irritable. Consider crating your dog or using a product like a Thundershirt to keep him calm.

All dressed up. Sure, you think your dog is super, but should you really need to dress him up as Superman? As long as it’s well-fitting, it’s OK, Henry says.

A costume should not be too loose nor too snug and not have any accessories that can be chewed off. Henry also advises not to leave a pet alone wearing a costume because it could chew it off and ingest the fabric, causing a bowel obstruction.

Trick or treating. Sam the Superdog looks too cute in his costume to leave at home. However, all of the activity on the sidewalks might be overwhelming to a dog if it accompanies the family as you trick or treat.

“You never want to take a dog out that’s not friendly and totally socialized,” Henry says. “If they’re not, leave them behind no matter how cute they look in their costumes.”

On the fence. If you leave Fido at home while you trick or treat, be sure to leave him inside not in a fenced yard.

“If they do get enticed by all the passers-by,” Henry says, “that could either make them nervous and have them dig out of the yard or chase after goblins and ghouls.”

kdupps@jg.net