Have a happy and safe ‘Howl’oween

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, October 17, 2009

Halloween is a fun time for children to dress up as their favorite character and get tons of free candy, but before you put your wiener dog in a set of buns and mustard, let’s go over some basic safety.

Many dogs are scared of people wearing costumes and are easily frightened during Trick or Treat. If on a walk, the stress of all the increased activity can cause your dog to jerk away from you, so be sure to keep a tight grip on the leash.

Be sure that your dog is wearing an up-to-date I.D. tag, incase he does escape.

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Unless your dog is extremely friendly and outgoing, keeping him in for the night might be best. If he is afraid of loud noises or crowds you may consider placing him in a quiet room as far from your front door as possible during the time of trick or treat.

If you do not have a room for your pup, consider a crate. This could make him feel secure and greatly reduce a chance of escape. You can provide him with his favorite toy and blanket to reduce his stress level. Play soft music or turn on the TV to further relax him.

If you want to have your dog greet your ghostly visitors, be cautious. A nervous dog is an unpredictable dog.

The extra stress of goblins asking for candy might make him feel threatened and cause him to growl, lunge, or even bite.

It is not a good idea to leave your dog loose in the yard during Halloween festivities. In addition to strange looking figures lurking the sidewalks, many people use Halloween as an excuse to tease and harm pets. Also, don’t forget your feline friends.

It is a good idea to bring them indoors too. Black cats are a definite target for Halloween tormenters.

Save the candy and chocolate for the ghouls and away from your four legged friends. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and death in dogs.

The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is, so do not give your pet even a small amount. Some signs of chocolate poisoning are excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma.

Candy wrappers are also dangerous. They can cause choking or an intestinal obstruction.

Pet costumes are cute, but can be highly annoying to Fido. But, if he does not seem to mind his festive outfit and you decided to go for it, don’t for get common sense safety.

Double check to make sure he can breathe easily, see and hear, and that it is flame retardant. If the costume has any small, dangling accessories, remove them so that they are not swallowed or choked on.

Halloween can be a time for fun for the entire family. Keeping safety as a priority will keep you home eating left over candy and out of the animal ER. Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop