Acadia Tips for a Safe and Happy Halloween

Preventable situations on Halloween is the theme for this Acadia pet blog…My biggest stress point on Halloween is the doorbell – Being rung non-stop throughout the day triggers such a reaction with Otto, I have decided the past few years to put a bowl of candy on the front step, and a sign that says, Please help yourself  – It’s not fair to see him get so upset, and obviously he has no clue why people are screaming Trick or Treat and jumping up and down in funny costumes.  He doesn’t want them near me, and will bark non stop to make them go away…So, by putting the candy outside the front door, I try to minimize his stress, fear and anxiety.  

Plan to keep pets safe inside the house. Please do not leave your dog outside on Halloween. Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, or steal pets.  If you know your dog is nervous, keep them as far away from the front door as possible to try to avoid a possible escape – no one wants to experience a holiday pet runaway.

A simple thing like keeping them contained in a safe space or crate with their Acadia Moose Antler to chew on will really help to reduce the stress resulting from the flurry of Halloween activity.  (www.acadiaantlers.comAlso, as mentioned in the Acadia Pet Travel Blog, always make sure your pet is wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.  If your dog should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned to you. Make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet has an embedded microchip.

Pet costumes…Otto is not a big fan of costumes, so I choose to avoid that as well.  Some dogs LOVE to get dressed up and enjoy being part of the fun – Just make sure that the costume fits well, and does not limit their movement, sight, or ability to breathe or bark.  Double check that there are no small hanging pieces or easily chewed off pieces that could present a choking hazard.  Make sure you do a dress rehearsal/try on before Halloween – if he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, maybe it isn’t for them – opt for a festive bandana or something that won’t stress them out.  If  I dress Otto in ANYTHING, he goes from being a fun little dog into statue mode!!  Frozen in time – and he will not budge!  It just doesn’t work for us, and I accept that.  

Now, we all know DOGS CAN NOT have candy…  Be sure to keep the trick-or-treat candy safely put away -- Take a moment and educate your kids to the fact that candy can make a dog very, very sick and never share their stash with the pets.  Keep the candy in a place that the dogs cannot get to it – The worst treats include anything with xylitol which can be poisonous to dogs as well as chocolate in all forms – dark, milk or baking chocolate.  Raisins are also something that can get them severely sick.  If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or  the  ASPCA Poison Control Center  at (888) 426-4435.  To read more about their services and find great information on other potentially poisonous substances, they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  This link will also bring you to their page for great information:   https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control .  

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures.   A small amount of chocolate will probably only give your dog an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea. With large amounts, theobromine  (the toxic component in chocolate) can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity.

The usual treatment for theobromine poisoning is to induce vomiting within two hours of ingestion. If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate and they are showing any of the signs listed above, call your veterinarian immediately. If you have a small dog that has eaten a box of chocolates, you need to call and go to your veterinarian right away. Do not wait. However, should your dog get ahold of a piece or two, it is most probably not cause for alarm.

Keep Halloween pumpkins and decorative corn out of your dog’s reach. Although they are relatively nontoxic, these vegetables can induce gastrointestinal upset if ingested by your pet in large quantities. Intestinal blockages can occur if they swallow large pieces of pumpkin or a corncob.

Keep an eye on decorations, lit pumpkins or electrical cords unattended around pets. Should your pets get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking the pumpkin over and causing a fire. If your dog chews on the cords, they could be cut on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electric shock.

Halloween will be fun for you and your kids and, with a little planning and prevention, it can be fun for your four-legged kids as well. Don’t forget to stock up on some suitable “treats” for your pets too!!

Happy Halloween!!