Halloween, or Howl-o-ween as referring to it around here, is fast approaching. While most people are scurrying to make sure their kid’s costumes are ready, household decorations are up, yard decoration is SPOOKTACULAR, and they have enough candy to feed an army, we want to share a scary story with you. Not scarey in the blood-and-guts way you may already be thinking, but in the omg-that-could-really-happen kind of way.
A few years ago, my family was preparing for Halloween and like mentioned before, we had enough candy to feed an army. About 3 of the 5-pound bags of prewrapped, miniature assorted chocolate candies were in shopping bags on the bed in our spare room, with the door shut. Safely hidden from our hungry human hands and thoughtfully placed up and away from our pets. Or so we thought.
My Great Dane comes strolling into the kitchen one afternoon like he usually did and the light hit his jowls in just a way that made them glisten. My fiance quickly pointed out his new shimmer and walked over to investigate. When she opened his mouth, she found a small sliver of a wrapper stuck to the inside of his jowl. Hmmmm. What is this? How did he get this stuck to his mouth?
And suddenly, it hit us! THE HALLOWEEN CANDY! We darted to the room, to find that he had opened the door and helped himself to an ENTIRE 5-pound bag of the prewrapped chocolate candy!
A little panic set in, as I rushed him outside with a bottle of Peroxide and she called the vet (yes, thank God we worked there and they got a doctor for us pretty quickly). I poured some peroxide down his throat, made him walk around and eventually….you guessed it. LOTS of prewrapped, chocolate candies came crashing down at my feet.
After he purged himself of his Halloween treats, we brought him in for an exam to make sure he was going to be ok. Thankfully, he was 160 pounds and had vomited the candies. If we didn’t catch him right after he ate them, or if he were a smaller dog…we probably wouldn’t be able to chuckle about this story now.
We never want anyone to go through the initial panic of realizing our dog had not only eaten chocolate but had eaten a substantial amount of it, including wrappers. For us, all chocolate now lives in the top cabinets in our pantry.
Ways You Can Keep Your Pets Safe During Halloween
- Keep all candies away from your pets. Keep them in a secure pantry, cabinet or shelf in a closet. Never underestimate your pets. Like you, if they want something badly enough – they will get it.
- Tag your pets. Make sure all your pets are wearing their collars and ID tags, even if you aren’t planning on bringing them outside. You never know if someone will start setting off fireworks or be wearing a costume that scares your pet enough to run out the door or your yard.
- Prevent the Door Bell Frenzy. If hearing the doorbell go off 50 times is going to stress your pet out, then thinking of a better way for Trick or Treaters to alert you of their arrival. Maybe you and your pup sit on the front porch and greet the kids as they come up. Maybe you put a sign on your front door asking them to knock instead. Maybe you set your pet up in a back bedroom with the TV sound on loud, their bed and some toys or treats or keep them occupied, so they aren’t so interested in the door. Alternatively, if you are able – maybe this is a good time to work on training your dogs not to react to the doorbell. You can practice for 10-15 minutes once an hour and make sure you give them a break and something fun or yummy as a reward. Find something that will work for your pet and give it a try.
- No Costume Malfunctions. If you are dressing your pet up this year, please make sure their costume doesn’t prevent them from seeing. Your pet needs to be able to visualize the world, like you do, to feel safe. If they can’t see well, they may be more nervous and their behavior may change. You also want to make sure they walk normally and their collar and tags are worn while you are out about in the neighborhood.
- Don’t leave them unattended. Halloween brings our the pranksters and you don’t want someone thinking it’s funny to do anything to your pet if they are unattended in the front or back yard. Please make sure you keep your eyes on your pets.
- Monitor their stress. If your pup isn’t used to go out for long walks, being around lots of people, kids, and the craziness that Trick or Treating can bring, then you need to watch your dog for signs they are stressed. Some of the signs can be panting, pacing, licking their lips, avoiding contact with other people, or being able to see large amounts of the whites of their eyes. If your dog is exhibiting these signs, you will want to bring them home and give them a break. We know it’s fun to have them out and about with us, but it’s not fair to expose them to high-stress activities and expect them to just be ok and deal with it.
Now that we’ve shaken you up with a scary, real-life story and helped guide you through a safer Halloween, how about a little Howloween fun? Watch this video if you DARE!!