Trick or Treating is wonderful for children at Halloween, but holidays often stress dogs and impair their health.
The Pet Poison Hotline (800.213.6680) had a 21 percent increase in calls during Halloween week in 2011 and 2012 as reported in Dog Watch (October 2013, a publication of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine)
Chocolate is the most common culprit. The compound methylxanthine, especially in darker chocolate, can make a 50-pound dog seriously ill with just one ounce of Baker’s chocolate. Look for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, or elevated heart rate. In extreme case, the dog may have seizures.
Other toxic treats: candy and gum with the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure. Lollipop sticks and plastic-wrapped candies can cause choking or obstruction requiring surgery.
Costumes for dogs and holiday decorations such as electric cords, plants, plastic decorations, ribbons, tinsel, candles, and glass can be hazardous. Cover up or hide your extension cords: never let your pets chew on them. Do not tie ribbons or tinsel on pets and be careful of rubber bands used to hold decorations together. All of these can be harmful if swallowed or wrapped around a paw.
Remember that what is intended to scare a human can also scare an animal who reacts in an animal, not human way. If your dog is scared by a decoration or the neighborhood children are covered in strange costumes and not recognizable to your pet, how will he react? He will react in one of two ways: fear may make him bite the object or the person; the desire to protect the family may also make him growl, bark, or bite.
It is best to keep the dog in a separate part of the house where he won’t be frightened or tempted to investigate all the new people, sounds, and smells or be able to run out the door. You can also bring your pet to the Olde Towne Pet Resort Halloween Pet Retreat, offering stress-free fun for your dog on Halloween.