When it comes to the funnest holidays, you really can’t beat Halloween. The costumes, the candy, the spooky decorations, haunted houses, and ghosts both real and imagined can make the night a great fright!
If you’re a new puppy parent, not all great frights will be good for your dog. With puppies, there’s a fine line between exciting and truly terrifying.
The sights, sounds, and smells will surely be exciting for your new puppy, and Halloween is another great opportunity to socialize your puppy with a new experience. But in order to keep your fur baby safe, there are many precautions you should take.
Petland Cleveland has put together a list of Halloween safety tips for puppies! Let’s get started.
I.D. TAGS, MICROCHIPS, & APPS TO TRACK YOUR DOG
Adorable bundles of boundless energy that paradoxically need to sleep 18 hours a day, puppies are the mysteries that warm our hearts! As a new puppy parent, you may have noticed that your puppy sometimes struggles to obey you because he’s overjoyed with life. This type of exuberance will gradually subside as you train your puppy and he learns through experience that even greater joys come from earning your praise after he does what you want.
Given the nature of puppies, new puppy parents can expect that an unusual and exciting environment, like having trick-o-treaters come to the door, can be cause for bouncing off the walls. It can also be the cause, for some puppies, to become intimidated. Afraid puppies, like afraid dogs, may try to run away. It’s always a good idea to keep your puppy in your sight, especially on Halloween. And your puppy should definitely always wear his I.D. tags and be microchipped in case you lost sight of him.
Your puppy should have been microchipped before you took him home from the breeder or pet store. But if that wasn’t the case, then now is the time to have your fur baby microchipped. Microchips are in no way harmful to pets. This technology has been around for decades. It’s tried and true, and there are countless success stories of pet parents locating their fur babies thanks to the microchip technology.
Presuming that your puppy is microchipped, you’ll also need to make sure that your puppy has been properly and completely registered with the microchip company. Just because your puppy had a microchip put in before you took him home doesn’t mean that your puppy is registered. This is a critical step, so take the time now to register your puppy. And if your puppy is already registered, go into your microchip account and double-check that all your contact information is accurate and up to date.
Apps to Track Your Dog
Nowadays, most pet microchip companies have their own smartphone / desktop computer app that’s the “hub” of your account. Before Halloween, you’ll want to take the time to make sure that this app is installed on your phone and computer, and that your puppy’s microchip is showing up. You can test this out, too, by having a friend take your puppy for a little walk around the block. Stay at home and use the microchip app on your phone to locate your puppy. This exercise will help you to be familiar with the GPS tracking tools on the app and how to navigate the interface of the app itself. On Halloween, if you lose your puppy, this app will be your first line of defense and your best resource to quickly find your puppy.
Your puppy should always be wearing his collar with I.D. tags. Oftentimes, wearing more than one tag is necessary so that all of the pertinent information is always with your puppy no matter where he is. Your dog’s I.D. tags should include:
- Your dog’s name
- Your cell phone number
- Your name, labeled clearly as the “owner”
- Your home address, including the town or city but excluding the state & zip code
- Any critical medical needs of your dog, if applicable
If your puppy’s tags have old or outdated information, then now is the time to have new tags made.
HALLOWEEN HAZARDS, DANGERS, & FOODS THAT ARE POISONOUS TO PUPPIES
The hallmarks of Halloween include such joys as glowing jack-o-lanterns, spooky yet fake cobwebs, dangling plastic skeletons, festive snacks, and fun drinks, and of course everyone dressed up in scary costumes! But unfortunately, many things that make Halloween the funnest time of the year can make your home and yard dangerous for your doggo.
Fear not! You don’t have to put the kibosh on Halloween. Just watch out for the following danger zones when you bring your puppy to a Halloween party. We’ll look at each of these in detail:
- Poisonous & Toxic Dog Foods
- Dangerous Decorations
- Hazardous Halloween Costumes
Foods that are Poisonous & Toxic for Dogs
There are many human foods, ingredients, and liquids that are poisonous to dogs. These can be very serious and even fatal if a puppy ingests some of these, because puppies don’t weigh much and they’re still developing.
We recommend that you keep your veterinarian clinic’s emergency number with you at all times. If you suspect that your puppy may have ingested any of the following ingredients, don’t hesitate to call your vet and arrange to bring your puppy in ASAP.
- Alcohol – Causes intoxication, coma, and death
- Avocado – Causes vomiting and diarrhea
- Raisins / currants – Causes kidney failure
- Cooked bones – Causes stomach lacerations
- Walnuts / macadamia nuts – Causes damage to the nervous system and muscles
- Onions / garlic – Causes anemia and blood cell damage
- Dairy – Can cause diarrhea in too much quantity
- Grapes – Can cause kidney failure
- Mushrooms – Some mushrooms can cause shock and death
- Caffeine – Causes vomiting and diarrhea
- Xylitol (sugar replacer in candy & gum) – Causes liver failure, hypoglycemia, and death
- Medications (Advil, Tylenol) – Can cause kidney failure and G.I. ulcers
- Nicotine (cigarettes, gum, lozenges) – Causes vomiting, diarrhea, and death
If you’re planning on throwing your own Halloween party, then you can avoid many of these ingredients. This probably won’t be the case if you bring your puppy to someone else’s party. For this reason, the best way to keep your puppy safe is to not allow anyone to feed him “scraps” and to keep him in your sight at all times, whether the party is at your home or a friend’s.
Our #1 advice when it comes to Halloween decorations around your home this autumn, and especially additional decorations you might put up for a Halloween party, is that you place all of the decorations beyond your puppy’s reach. Meaning, there shouldn’t be any decorations on the floor inside the home or ground outside the home. Nor should you decorate low coffee tables or other low furniture that your puppy could gain access to by jumping up.
But even placing a hazardous decoration “high up” might not guarantee your puppies safety. The following are decorations to reconsider, and to replace with safer alternatives:
- Real Candles (use battery powered or electric candle lights instead)
- Carved Pumpkins (use uncarved, whole pumpkins, and gourds instead, since carved pumpkins can tempt your puppy to try to eat)
- Fake Spider Webs (these can be choking hazards, so try an alternative like large fake spiders that are too big for your puppy to chew, keep these “high up” too)
If you’re planning on bringing your puppy to someone else’s party, it would be ideal to ask them to make decorative modifications for the sake of your fur baby. But that might not be possible. When you arrive with your puppy, keep him on his leash with a friend so that you yourself can walk through the space to identify the hazards and decide where your puppy can and shouldn’t go. Even after you know the rooms and places where your puppy shouldn’t go, we recommend that you keep your puppy on his leash so that he remains in your sight at all times.
Halloween Costume Choking Hazards
Most Halloween costumes for children and adults are not pet-friendly and contain choking hazards. There’s not much you can do to prevent this. But you can prevent your puppy from getting a hold of discarded costumes and costume pieces, like Halloween hats. If you see your puppy with a costume piece in his mouth, tell him to drop it and then check his mouth to make sure he didn’t bite off part of the costume.
If you notice your puppy choking, coughing, or vomiting, you’ll have to pry his mouth open, look inside, and use your fingers to remove whatever material he tried to swallow.
PREPARE A DESIGNATED SAFE ROOM
We recommend that you prepare a “safe room” in your house where your puppy can go, whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or simply staying home with your fur baby to watch movies. The safe room can provide extra comfort, security, and protection, especially if a constant stream of trick-o-treaters at your door starts to cause your puppy anxiety.
By preparing a quiet, cozy room for your puppy, you can move him into his safe space if and when he becomes overwhelmed. We recommend leaving some puppy pee pads on the floor, too, even if your puppy is housebroken. Accidents can happen when a dog is scared, and it’s never a bad idea to have pee pads.
We also recommend that you ask party guests and also trick-or-treaters to not ring your doorbell. The sound of a doorbell chiming can be too exciting for many dogs, and if the doorbell is ringing all night, it could cause your puppy a great deal of excitement that he can’t handle. Instead, create a sign to hang on your front door that asks your guests and visitors to knock. If you’re throwing a party, your sign could say, “Come on in!”
Those are Petland Cleveland’s puppy Halloween safety tips! From everyone at our Parma and Strongsville locations, we wish you and your puppy a very spooktacular and safe Halloween! But if the scariest thing you face this October 31st is a puppy-less party, we invite you to stop in our Cleveland pet stores to get the paw-fect pooch to celebrate Halloween with, and every day of your life together.