Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 8:07 pm | Fair 64º


Inquisitive Canine: Halloween Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Taking a few simple precautions can help ensure a fun, not frightful, holiday for all

The weather has cooled, football is in full swing and flecks of orange orbs are scattered among the local fields. It can mean only one thing: Halloween is just around the corner!

While the exciting and entertaining holiday can be loads of fun for many of us, our pets can often end up overstimulated, stressed out, and even sick or injured.

As a professional dog trainer, I know that many Halloween mishaps (including emergency trips to the vet) can be avoided with education and proper management. For this week’s edition of Inquisitive Canine, Poncho and I decided it would be nice to remind our dedicated readers of general safety tips and guidelines. We will follow it up with our next column on simple and fun ways to get your dog to love his or her costume, along with how to put the trick-or-treaters to work for you.

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe on Halloween

» Make sure any “treats” your animals get their paws on are pet-specific treats. That means, keep candy and other human Halloween treats out of reach from animals. Our pets are quite savvy at maneuvering around their environment to get at something they want — for general investigations, and possibly for ingestion. Make sure everything is put away, and not just for the one night, but for as long as the candy is around the house. As Poncho says, “Lead us not into temptation.” He offers more tips on preventing canine counter surfing on his dog blog.

» For storage, consider placing appetizing items in cupboards, containers with tight and secure lids, or in the refrigerator. That includes keeping children’s carry containers and bowls of candy out of sight — and reach — of dogs and cats.

» Keep in mind that delectable morsels can fall out of the big bags and land under furniture, making it easy for many of our domestic pets to find. Please be aware of where you place the items, especially when pets are unattended.

» Supervise pets around interior and exterior decorations, including electrical cords, lights, candles (lighted or not), jack-o’-lanterns, fake spider webs and other decor that can cause entanglement or potential burns and, of course, can be chewed up and often ingested. Some dogs will eat just about anything. Make sure pets are always supervised when around these types of objects.

» Keep pets inside where they are safe. Halloween is a time for parties (especially this year, when it falls on a Saturday night), as well as an increased number of people out and about on the town, both on foot and by car. With all of the excitement, it’s best to keep pets inside where it’s safer. Even if you’re hosting an event, you might consider keeping your dog tethered to you on leash, or confined to an area of the house with proper enrichment, such as stuffed food toys or chew bones. See my dog training blog for more tips on how to keep your pet occupied with interactive food toys. Make sure guests are on top of it, too, by keeping doors closed — just in case your pets like to wander off. With all of the noise, including fireworks and other explosives, sometimes animals get scared and run off.

» Make sure collars with proper ID are part of your pet’s costume. In case your pet does get out or gets scared and runs off, it should wear a license and ID tag. That way, others can help get your pet home to you.

Knowing how to keep your pet safe is important. To help make Halloween more fun for everyone, we’ll provide expert training tips in our next column on ways to enjoy the holiday with your pet — including how to ensure your dog enjoys dressing up, and helping him or her greet trick-or-treaters politely.

— Dear Inquisitive Canine is written by Joan Mayer and her trusty sidekick, Poncho. Joan is a certified pet dog trainer and dog behavior counselor. Her column is known for its simple common-sense approach to dog training and behavior, as well as its entertaining insight into implementing proven techniques that reward both owner and dog. Joan is also the founder of The Inquisitive Canine, where her love-of-dog training approach highlights the importance of understanding canine behavior. If you or your dog have questions about behavior, training or life with each other, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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