There’s no denying that Halloween is spook-tacularly fun—if you have two legs. Our four-legged friends, on the other hand, have a lot of bones to pick with the whole evening. Fortunately for them, we’ve put together a list of the top Halloween pet peeves, and some solutions.
Problem #1: Candy is everywhere
Halloween is all about candy. Whether you’ve got your own trick-or-treaters at home, or you’re doling it out, your house is sure to contain more candy than usual around Halloween. Cats are typically more discerning than dogs when it comes to snacking, but to be on the safe side, ensure you take precautions to keep Halloween goodies well out of paws’ reach.
While candy isn’t exactly healthy for two-legged witches and wizards, it can be dangerous for pets. Two kinds of candy, in particular, may cause the biggest fright—chocolate and candies sweetened with the artificial sweetener xylitol.
- Chocolate — Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, chemicals that are bad for dogs. If your pup raids your chocolate stash, don’t panic, because the most common side effects are diarrhea and vomiting, and your dog will probably be fine, although you may have to clean up her mess. However, dark chocolate can be dangerous for your dog if eaten in high enough quantities, so call us right away if your dog eats chocolate, regardless of the type or amount. We can let you know what to expect based on how much he ate.
- Xylitol — This artificial sweetener, which is used in many sugar-free candies and gum, can be toxic to dogs. Xylitol ingestion may cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar and possible liver failure, and you should let us know immediately if your dog has ingested xylitol. The sooner we can start treatment, the better the outcome.
Solution #1: Keep your candy bowl behind closed doors and offer your pets safe alternatives
If you have trick-or-treaters in the house, you know that the second-best part of Halloween is when the superheroes come home and the porch light goes off. Sorting the candy typically requires plenty of floor space as candies are grouped and traded. During the negotiations, ensure your pets are sequestered away, but keep them busy with a treat-filled Kong or food puzzle so they don’t miss out.
Problem #2: Ringing doorbells
You’ll no doubt have many visitors on Halloween night, and if your pet reacts to the doorbell, you’ll both be in for a “ruff” evening. Your pets are probably likely already on edge before trick or treating begins, so a constantly ringing doorbell can be particularly stressful.
Solution #2: Head the monsters off
Consider greeting trick-or-treaters on your porch, where they do not need to ring the doorbell, or leave a note over the doorbell button asking revelers to knock. If you know your pet will be bothered by the doorbell, consider boarding him for the night so he can have peace and quiet.
Problem #3: Stranger danger
Your pets are comfortable at home because they are familiar with every family member, the neighbors, and the neighborhood sights and sounds. That changes on Halloween, however, with decorated houses, creepy sounds, and, what may be most disturbing for your pet, people in costumes. His loving, protective owner is suddenly a werewolf or zombie. That scares him, as do people with masks, because they are new experiences.
Your pet’s fear of new monsters is no laughing matter, because fearful pets are more likely to scratch or bite, which can put you or your family in danger.
Solution #3: Present your costume little by little
Go slowly when introducing your scary costume to your pet. For example, start by laying out only the mask, letting your pet explore the new smells and textures so he becomes more comfortable with the idea of living with a monster. Then, try donning the mask. Take baby steps—if your pet reacts, retreat and slow down. Remember to expose your pets to your children’s costumes, too.
Halloween is great fun, and we want to ensure everyone is still enjoying themselves come November 1. If we can help with your dog’s fear or anything that may be dangerous, let us know.