By: Alicia Sexauer
We spoke with Curtis Lamm of K9STL dog training for his recommendations to help keep your pet(s) safe during Halloween and any other upcoming spooky events!
1.Do not give your pets human candy or treats.
Chocolate can be especially harmful for dogs, but other things such as wooden sticks from candy apples, if chewed or swallowed, can cause serious damage to internal organs. Gum and other chewy candy can cause pets to choke. Raisins or low sugar/diabetic candies (e.g. xylitol sweetener) can be lethal to your pet.
If you want to give your pet a treat, make it an all-natural biscuit or all-meat treat – even a little bit of apple, carrots or other veggies are good options too – just no people candy/treats. If you have noticed your pet is not acting right, make sure to take it to a vet right away.
2. Never introduce strange dogs on leash to each other.
Unfortunately, leashes can get tangled while pups are checking each other out and pet parents trying to untangle them can make the dogs feel nervous or even misread the situation. This could lead to the pups possibly thinking there is a fight or a reason to fight.
3. Keep stern, close leash rules.
Running costumed kids and/or startling decorations may make your dog react negatively. Too much slack in a leash may result in a hurt kid or pet or an unintentionally destroyed decoration
4. If you go to a dog party, make sure to have deterrence methods available.
Items such as bitter apple spray or shaking coins in a bottle, etc. will come in handy to redirect behavior
5. If there are multiple dogs at the party, be aware when passing out treats.
Treats can make some dogs jealous or there might be a dog or two with food aggression you don’t know about.
6. Know your dog.
If your dog is not used to public events, it may be better to keep them at home. If your dog has anxiety, an aversion to loud noises, people, or other dogs, it is better for your pup to stay safe inside at home.
7. If you are handing out treats at the door, make sure to keep your dog restrained or somewhere where they won’t overreact.
Doorbells, new (costumed) people in their territory, as well as general Trick or Treater commotion can send some pups over the edge. Pets may become protective or aggressive if they feel threatened by a person’s costume. What looks cute and funny to us can look very different to your pet. If your pet does not like the doorbell then putting them in a quiet room with the door shut can help keep them safe. You can make this a special time with good treats (e.g. a treat-filled Kong is great) and a bowl of water and a litter box for your cats. Other options include a natural solution like Rescue Remedy or even a Thundershirt to help keep them calm.
We hope these tips help you and your pets enjoy a safe and spooky Halloween!