Halloween is the time of year that most people tend to look forward to since we get to dress up in awesome costumes as well as stuffing our faces with all sorts of yummy chocolates and delicious sweets! Watching scary movies with a hot chocolate in hand hiding behind your favourite fluffy blanket.

How can Halloween be hazardous to our dogs?  

Here are three potential hazards and how to avoid them this Halloween! 

1. Choking Hazards 

At Halloween, most of us are guilty of leaving sweet and chocolate wrappers around the house, we have all been there! But leaving litter like this around your house can be very dangerous for your dog, especially if there is chocolate residue left on the wrappers. Our dogs might look at the wrapper and could potentially think it’s too tempting to leave behind, so clearing up little things like wrappers is very important as it could be a choking hazard to your beloved pet if they decide to have a taste of it. 

How do I know if my dog is choking? 

Signs of choking tend to be – 

⦁ Pawing at the dog’s mouth 

⦁ Visible distress 

⦁ Excessive drooling  

⦁ Blue mucous membranes due to lack of oxygen to the brain 

What do I do if they are choking? 

ALWAYS consider choking as an emergency!  

I recommend calling your vet since trying to remove the object yourself could make the situation a lot worse. If you do it incorrectly and could end up moving the object further down the dog’s throat making harder work for the vet. 

2. Poisoning 

At Halloween there tends to be a decent amount of sweets and chocolate lying around the house, sometimes we just don’t think about putting the food away or maybe we forget. Its only human! However, chocolate can be very poisonous to dogs and cats too, the reason why chocolate is very dangerous to pets is due to the fact that the cocoa contains the compound theobromine which is toxic and they are unable to metabolise effectively. 

 What do I do if I believe my dog has consumed chocolate? 

  If you believe your dog has eaten chocolate you will most certainly want to be calling your vet immediately, ignoring the fact that your dog has consumed chocolate could be treacherous to your dog’s health. 

What information should I give the vet? 

 ⦁ Take note of your dog’s weight 

 ⦁ Write down the type of chocolate they have eaten and bring the wrapper if possible 

  This will help the vet decipher whether the dog has eaten a toxic amount of chocolate and will also give them the information they need for treatment. 

3. Anxiety 

 Halloween can be incredibly stressful for some dogs. So, you might want to rethink trick or treating or even re-imagine it since this could be too overwhelming for those fearful friends.

What could anxiety cause? 

  • Fight or flight 

 For your furry friend seeing people dressed up in their Halloween costumes can be very alarming since they will not be able to comprehend that there is a person behind that costume and could potentially see them as a threat. This could activate the dogs fight or flight response. 

What is fight or flight, do I hear you ask? 

 Flight or flight is an automatic response to stressful situations, which means the dog in hand could either become one of the two, they could become aggressive or they could attempt flee and steer clear of the situation to avoid getting harmed. 

How do I let people know that I do not want trick or treaters? 

There are most certainly ways of making Halloween work for you and your pet. So don’t fret! I shall be leaving you with ways you can make Halloween work for the both of you.

Firstly you’re going to want to consider keeping your pet in for Halloween, letting your dog out could risk them seeing a monster! And could cause the dog’s body and attitude to act in the fight or flight response, which you want to completely avoid since this can be very dangerous for the person and the dog at hand and could end in a bad accident. It would most certainly be in your favour to leave a note on your door stating that you own an anxious dog and that you are not allowing trick or treaters at this address. 

And to the people who want to continue with Halloween 

But maybe you still want Halloween to go ahead? That’s okay! you can most certainly still celebrate the spooky day. Maybe keeping your dog in a separate room would relieve a lot of anxiety from you and the dog since you will not be worrying about making sure your furry friend doesn’t blot across the room to the front door when hearing the doorbell ring. 

Stay cool as a cucumber!  

When your dog is frightened or anxious it is important to try remove your dog from any stressful situations, give your dog their own space (quiet room with toys and bed, or availability to hide away in their crate). Most importantly, you should give your dog space and remain calm. Our dogs can pick up on our emotions and if you’re on edge, it is likely to put your dog on edge. You should also try to avoid over ‘coddling’ your dog, as some dogs may persist to show signs of anxiety to get some extra attention.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!