Treat your canine to a safe Halloween

Treat your canine to a safe Halloween

Dog Halloween costumes were on display in East Memphis.


Halloween is a time honored childhood holiday and tradition. Who doesn’t enjoy donning a costume of a favored character and serendipitously prancing through the neighborhood collecting and savoring delicious confections? Not many.

Halloween and your canine companion

Halloween is a holiday that presents eminent danger to the canine community and for this reason, it is imperative to safeguard your dog by becoming aware of the following activities and treats that could fatally injure your pet:

1. Chocolate is a delicious candy to humans, but it is toxic to dogs. Cocoa comes from cocoa beans and is a related chemical to theobromine, a stimulant and when dogs ingest this substance, it elevates their hearts, causing hyperactivity, tremors, high blood pressure, seizures, and respiratory failure leading to cardiac arrest. Also note that all chocolate is not alike in terms of quantity of theobromine. Baker’s chocolate carries the highest amount of theobromine with milk chocolate evidencing a lower valuation, white chocolate trailing behind the other categories (does not lessen the danger). See WebMD regarding chocolate and dogs.
2. Hard candies present a choking hazard to animals and the sugary confections may consist of the chemical, xylitol that if consumed by the dog can cause an acute drop in blood sugar, even liver failure at high doses.
3. Raisins, although seen as a “superfruit” and regarded as healthy for humans can cause dogs to experience severe acute kidney failure which is fatal.
4. Halloween decorations: plastic spiders, goblins and the like garner interest from pets, but if consumed pose a life threat and should be placed out of harm’s way to ensure pet safety.
5. Silly string is an aerosol toxic synthetic resin string formulated from chlorofluorocarbon propellant Freon 12. It presents a choking hazard and toxicity.

Two sites to assist you in your quest for safeguarding your pet are:

Pet Poison Hotline and Animal Behavior College

Costumes are fun, but what do dogs think?

Aside from the dangers that you might encounter when walking your dog on Halloween, it is important to be educated about dog behavior. Dogs are not accustomed to seeing their humans or their humans’ cohorts in costume and as a result, they may experience anxiety and or aggression after interacting with a Frankenstein like character. Therefore, it may be safer to shield your pet by creating a safe space for them that is away from the Halloween tumult.

Open doors aren't always blessed opportunities

Moreover, because Halloween is a holiday that invites the repeated opening of doors, it is vital to exercise caution for your canine by keeping them away from the open door. Remember, they are instinctively motivated to protect their pack’s den and/or greet newcomers and this could lead to serious issues, not to mention the danger of the dog scampering out of the house and into traffic.

Don't be tricked, enjoy the treats

So, in sum, do engage and enjoy all the festivities on Halloween, but central to this celebration is the understanding that safety is key to the fulfillment of this prophecy for both humans and their canine companions.

Treat your canine to a savory bone and don't be tricked October 31st.