The pumpkins are carved; the seeds have been roasted; the candy bowls are full; the cobwebs strategically draped; the kids’ costumes have been made or bought and you are just about to kick back with some witches brew… but wait! What about your own little Cujo? In all the double, double toil and trouble of your preparations, it’s easy to overlook your pets at Halloween. For others, Fido and Fluffy take center stage this time of year in costumes that are more elaborate than those at Mardi Gras in Rio. Whichever way your dog factors into your Halloween plans, we have some important tips for you to keep in mind on this spooky day.
Trick or Treat!
The amount of candy we generally keep on hand for Halloween night is enough to send anyone into a sugar coma. Bowls line the coffee table in the living room awaiting the trick or treaters and within easy reach of your dog’s curious nose. It’s not only kids that can get sick from too many sweets. Your own pup can suffer as well, specifically if his or her wet nose happens to find the chocolate candy. Baking chocolate or dark chocolate with higher concentrations of cacao are more likely to harm your pet than sweeter varieties like milk chocolate. Since you are unlikely to be handing out baking chocolate to kids, you have less to worry about, but eating chocolate in any quantity is unhealthy for a dog. Small amounts of milk chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea. For a 50 lb dog, a toxic amount of milk chocolate would be around 50 oz. Tell family members not to share any chocolate or candy with pets.  Another ingredient to watch out for is xylitol, a sweetener found in candy, mints, and gum. This artificial sweetener can be fatal if ingested or cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Because you can never be sure how much chocolate or candy your dog has consumed, always consult your veterinarian to be on the safe side.
Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble
Carved lit pumpkins look beautiful and eerie on a cold autumn night. Just make sure you keep your Jack-O-Lanterns outside in a location where Fido and Fluffy can’t run into them and potentially knock them over, creating a fire hazard. Another thing to be aware of is alcohol which tends to be on hand at Halloween parties. Keep your bubbly brew away from fuzzy friends.
Photo Courtesy of Hello Turkey Toe


Ding Dong
With the constant knocking on your door and ringing of your doorbell, it’s enough to annoy any good-natured Halloween fan, but imagine the stress it causes your cat or dog who feels it’s their duty to protect the house. In addition, the frightening costumes that trick or treaters wear can scare Fido. Even dogs that are generally well-behaved may react differently to strangers at the door dressed in monstrous outfits. Since the door will be continuously opened and closed, there is the chance your dog or cat may bolt. To avoid this situation, keep your pet contained in a crate or enclosed in another room. If it makes you feel safer, have them spend the night at Morris Animal Inn.
Canine Costumes
Your dog or cat does not care whether you choose to dress him or her as Lady Gaga or a bumblebee. As long as your pet gets to play the day away and enjoy some canine snacks, he or she will be content and happy. But if you have a pet that freezes in place or hides whenever you put a winter coat on them, dressing your buddy up may not be a good idea. Don’t force it simply for your own enjoyment; respect the comfort wishes of your canine companion. If your pet is willing to be dressed, make sure the costume is safe. Long parts that flow and can easily trip your pet or get stuck, can cause a hazardous situation. Avoid elaborate costumes with choking hazards or other unsafe attachments. If your dog likes getting dressed up or wants to play the day away, make sure to attend our MUTTster Mash on Friday, October 28th to enjoy all of our canine Halloween themed activities like our Costume Pet Parade. There will be pet portraits of your pup in costume that you can buy from our Shutterfly site.
If you keep these tips in mind, your Howl-O-Ween is sure to be spooktacular!