Making this Halloween a Treat for Your Pups
By: Meredith Godwin & Debra Murray
Hi, there! My name is Fido, your loveable furry friend! You clicked on this post because you’re interested in keeping me safe and scare-free this Halloween. Well, you’ve come to the right place because today, I will give you some tips on how to do just that!
I think you already know that chocolate is bad for me, right? But, did you also know how serious it can be if I consume even the smallest piece? If I start to vomit, have diarrhea, breathing issues, muscle tremors, or seizures this is your cue to get me to a vet immediately! Please make sure your candy is always put up somewhere that I can’t reach, and sweep up all the pieces that have been dropped on the floor. Also, if you are having a Halloween party where I can mingle, ask your guests not to feed me any chocolate or sweets, no matter how much I whine or beg. I can be quite convincing with my puppy dog eyes and endless charm. Instead, leave out a jar of my favorite treats for friends to dispense, so that I can have something to enjoy, too.
On Halloween, lots of Trick-or-Treaters are arriving on your doorstep. The doorbell is ringing, kids are screaming, and noisy knocking repeats all night. Not only does this make me anxious, but the unfamiliar faces and strange costumes frighten me. Many of my friends get so scared they reactively dart out the door and get lost! So, if you’re passing out candy this Halloween, be sure to keep me in a separate room or kennel away from all the commotion. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to turn on the radio, tv or some white noise, give me a long lasting tasty treat, and use a few squirts of that canine calming spray. If I’m not comfortable being separated or alone, then at least keep my leash on and consider using a gate or barrier as a precaution.
If you decide to walk me around the neighborhood on Halloween night, use a secure collar or harness, along with a strong leash – NOT A RETRACTABLE. Also, make sure I have all my ID tags on, in case we get separated. While we are walking around, be vigilant and prevent me from eating anything off the ground, such as pieces of chocolate or candy wrappers. Also, DO NOT make me interact with things I see as scary. PLLLEEEAAASSSEEE!!! If I’m nervous you can tell because I might back up and hide behind you, or just the opposite and lunge forward stiff or grumbling or barking. You may recognize the sweet neighbor, who I normally love, but when she’s dressed in a big red nose, face painted white, wearing ginormous floppy shoes, big hair, and saggy pants. To me, she’s a threatening sight!
Finally, please don’t dress me up if I don’t seem to enjoy it. Some of us pups are happy to be your costume sidekick, but many of us are not amused. A few ways we might show our discomfort is by tucking our tail, hunching down, lifting our paw, licking our lips, opening our eyes wide, freezing, staring or turning away. We have fur coats and for many of us, that’s all the attire we care for. If you must add something to make me look festive, try simple costumes that can be done with small things like bandanas and decorative collars. Be creative, maybe teach me some tricks using treats and I can “dress up” as my normal self……. Super Dog and Super Friend!
One last tip. A Halloween funny by Fido
People may enjoy spooks and ghouls, but I’m a dog
and scary things can make me drools!
(which by the way is another way us pups can show anxiousness – excessive panting or drooling!)
About the author: Debra is the owner of Smartypaws dog training and luxury boarding in Lee’s Summit, MO. She specializes in dog, baby and child dynamics and is the only KC area licensed Educator for Family Paws Parent Education. Smartypaws offers Dogs & Storks™ presentations, consultations, and training that helps expecting parents prepare their dog(s) for introductions and life with a newborn. Dogs & Toddlers™ programs are also available to teach and train dogs and their families how to safely foster friendships and create trusting bonds between children and family dogs. Contact Debra Murray at www.smartypaws.net or 816-743-4077 for more information.