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Pumpkins and Puppies | How to Keep Your Dog Safe this Halloween

Image via Pixabay

The little ghosts and goblins aren’t the only ones you have to keep safe this All Hallows Eve. While planning your pumpkin-plentiful décor and trick-or-treater treats, you must also take your canine companion into consideration.

Dangerous décor

Dogs are naturally curious creatures who will gladly sniff, seek, and destroy anything new wantonly laying around his domain. Anything, including your Halloween décor. Be careful where you place your cinnamon stick-scented candles, hard plastic bones, and decorative gourds. While cinnamon is not necessarily harmful to dogs, the AKC reports that the spice and its associated oils may trigger digestive tract irritation. Plastic bones, such as those you might use in a faux cemetery scene, may be low quality and can leave indigestible bits in your dog’s stomach. Decorative gourds, which, when fresh, are actually a safe fall treat, may have been dried with disinfectant solution causing (messy and unpleasant) gastrointestinal upset.

Poisonous plants

Halloween means fall and fall is an excellent time to spruce up your landscape with cool weather wonders such as mums. But, before you begin digging in the dirt, know that mums (chrysanthemums) are toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingesting these beautiful blooms can cause hyper salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, and dermatitis. It’s not just your intentional landscaping that can be dangerous to your dog, either. According to Vet Street, mushrooms and acorns also contain compounds that can make a Spot sick. Fallen green walnuts, while not toxic themselves, can grow mold that, if ingested, can trigger seizures. Yews, a relatively common evergreen shrub, are tempting to dogs in the fall and winter but are notorious for causing sudden death within a few hours.

Candy and confections

Come Halloween night, your home is sure to be filled to the brim with tasty treats for the masked marauders in the neighborhood. But, just as with your fall decorations, your dog is going to be curious about what’s in the wrapper. It’s no big surprise that chocolate is toxic to dogs but you also have to watch for sugar-free candies that contain xylitol, which is also dangerous to pets. While you might think alternative treats are a safe bet for Benjie, glow sticks, crayons, and other inedible items are also tempting and may cause intestinal blockages.

Doorbells, dogs, and danger

One of the most important things you can do for your pet on Halloween night is to simply keep them indoors. There will be a flurry of unusual activities that can cause anxiety and aggression, even in the most well-mannered animal. Redfin explains that allowing Fido to roam free can cause a dangerous situation if he feels threatened. If he’s the outdoor type, consider leaving him in the garage or behind a securely latched gate until the constant knocks are a memory. The American Veterinary Medicine Association says you should also double check that your pet is properly identifiable, whether via tags or microchip in case he or she decides to play Houdini while you’re distracted with kid-sized candy cravers.

Halloween offers ample opportunities for fun, friendship, and neighborhood interactions. However, it is also one of the most vulnerable nights of the year for your dog. Along with Fourth of July and New Year’s, animal shelters receive an excessively high number of intakes on Halloween night. So remember, to avoid a doggie disaster, keep him confined and candy out of reach.

Your dog, and your expected guests, will thank you for your efforts to keep everyone safe and sound while the spooks abound.

Jessica Brody,

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