Halloween is a time for tricks, treats, and festive fun that we as people can’t seem to get enough of. Halloween is such a great time, that many of us love including our dogs in all the fun. Because come on, who doesn’t love cuddling up with their dog on the couch to a good ol’ spooky movie?
Unfortunately, our dogs don’t quite like Halloween as much as we do.
It’s hard for most dogs to understand why they're giant bumblebees, skeletons, and screaming ghosts running around outside. Even worse, they’re now running up to your yard, knocking on your door, and screaming for candy.
So yeah, Halloween can be pretty traumatic for your dog. But Halloween isn’t only a potentially scary time for them; it can also be a dangerous one. With Halloween comes chocolate candies that can make your dog severely sick and potentially kill them.
Today, we want to show you how you can keep your dog safe during Halloween and help them stay calm with all the spooky chaos.
The Dangers Of Chocolate
Americans spend close to 3 billion dollars on candy for Halloween, and a lot of that is chocolate. It’s easy for small dogs and cats to eat a dangerous amount of chocolate, but even the biggest dogs are at risk too. You’ll want to especially watch baking and dark chocolate, which both have significantly higher levels of theobromine - the chemical in chocolate that’s toxic.
Eating chocolate can cause your dog to drool, vomit, breathe rapidly, walk as if they were drunk, increase their heart rate, and cause seizures, coma, and even kill them. There is also caffeine in chocolate, which can exacerbate some of the symptoms.
If you suspect your dog consumed chocolate, immediately call your veterinarian or ASPCA Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.
If it’s only been a few hours since they consumed it and they are not showing symptoms yet, your vet may have you induce vomiting. Inducing vomiting is the best way to remove the chocolate from their stomach. It’s also safe and easy to do when you have the right equipment.
To induce vomiting, you need to have your dog ingest 3% hydrogen peroxide, which will safely irritate their stomach. You should not use a higher percentage as it can be dangerous. As well, using too much hydrogen peroxide can cause uncontrollable vomiting.
This makes it a good idea to keep a syringe and hydrogen peroxide bottle in your dog’s first aid kit. We recommend something like Stat!Syringe that includes dosage markers. This lets you quickly know how much you should give your dog based on their weight.
If your dog is already showing symptoms of chocolate poisoning, it’s too late to induce vomiting, and getting them to your vet or an emergency pet hospital should be your priority.
*You cannot give your cat any common household item to induce vomiting, which includes hydrogen peroxide.
Helping Your Dog Stay Calm
Even the bravest dogs can get scared during Halloween. Some of those Trick-or-Treaters’ costumes are downright ghastly. Halloween should be a fun time for all, but a scared dog is both a miserable dog and could potentially become dangerous.
This makes it important to know how to read your dog’s anxiety symptoms so you can tell when all the festive activity is getting too much for them.
While all dogs are different, if you see your dog constantly pacing, shaking, or growling, it’s a good idea to remove them from the situation. Take them to another room, preferably away from any doors that people are going in and out of.
If you’re throwing on a party, a great tip is to have guests uncover their faces when they first come into your house. This will let your dog feel more at ease to go up and greet them. This lets the dog get the person’s scent, which can help them stay calmer if they see the person later with a mask on.
With Trick or Treat Night, it can be a little trickier to calm your dog. Besides turning off your lights and hoping no kids come knocking, you don’t have a lot of options. This puts many pet owners in a hard place.
Since Halloween isn’t an everyday occurrence — much to some’s displeasure — most pet owners don’t feel prescription anxiety medication is warranted.
This has caused many pet owners to look for a holistic or over-the-counter method, and CBD oil has become the most popular choice over the last couple of years.
Derived from hemp, CBD oil is a safe way to take advantage of the calming effects of medical marijuana without the risk of getting your dog high. Because it can’t cause a high, it’s safe to give to dogs, completely legal, and gives pet owners a safer alternative to prescription anxiety meds that can have nasty side effects.
You can administer CBD about an hour before the event, and it will help them stay calm for around 4-6 hours, which easily covers the average length of Trick or Treat Night.
By following the tips above, you can turn one of your favorite holidays into one of your dog’s favorites. This is good because in the U.S. alone, Americans spend over 400 million dollars on their dogs for Halloween, and that number only keeps increasing each year.
Remember, while it’s easy for us to understand all the decorations, costumes, and partying, it isn’t for your dog. As well, dogs are exposed to way more chocolate during this time, and no amount of chocolate is safe for them. So take things slow and look for any place where you can help keep them safe and calm. If in the worst-case scenario your dog is scared and runs off, use a lost pet register to help bring him home safely.
Halloween is the perfect time to update your dog’s first aid kit with CBD and emergency equipment for inducing vomiting. To find both, you can visit InnovetPet.
When you follow these tips, you’ll soon be enjoying your favorite Halloween events with your best ghoul by your side.