Make Halloween A Treat Not Trick For Your
The UK's largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, is
calling for the owners of Britain's 9 million dogs to keep their
dogs safe this Halloween by following a few simple steps.
Halloween poses a number of health and welfare risks to dogs, from
eating foods that can be toxic to man's best friend, such as
chocolate and some sweets, to being scared by trick or treaters and
children in costumes.
Taking a few simple precautions can ensure that Halloween is a
happy and healthy time for dogs:
- Keep chocolate out of reach of dogs.
Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is
poisonous to dogs. Eating chocolate can initially cause
vomiting and diarrhoea, but is a stimulant and so can cause your
dog to become excitable, as well as develop muscle twitching,
tremors, fitting and life threatening problems with their
- Hide the sweets. If dogs get hold of a
large quantity of sweets, such as those being stored for trick or
treaters, they can develop an inflammation of the pancreas due to a
sizeable ingestion of sugar. Sugar free sweets can contain
ingredients such as Xylitol which can be poisonous to dogs, so it
is important to keep these out of reach of your dog too.
- Be careful of lit pumpkins. Many people
enjoy putting candles inside carved pumpkins, and dogs may
inadvertently cause a fire or burn themselves if they knock it over
with an overzealous nose or wagging tail. Never leave your
dog unattended with a lit candle, even when it is inside a
- Beware of trick or treaters. Take extra
care to ensure your dog is kept calm and happy. At Halloween
it is not uncommon for strangers to knock at the door more
frequently than usual, and in costume, so be aware that this can be
stressful for the dog and ensure that he is kept in a quiet and
safe place. For advice on how to keep your dog safe in
unfamiliar situations, seek advice from a Kennel Club Accredited
Instructor (KCAI) who is an expert in dog behaviour and
training. Visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/kcai.
- Be aware of choke hazards. At Halloween
there are often more objects around that could obstruct a dog's
airway if swallowed, such as sweet wrappers, small parts of
costumes or decorations and hard sweets, which could require
surgical intervention. Signs of an obstruction could include
your dog going off his food, vomiting, lethargy and finding it
difficult to defecate or not defecating at all.
- Have the number of your dog's vet to
hand. If your dog has eaten chocolate, lots of
sweets or items which may obstruct its airway, contact your vet
immediately for advice. They will need to know what was eaten, when
and how much. If your dog eats something he shouldn't, do not
attempt to make him sick unless your vet advises this, as this
could cause further problems.
- Consider walking your dog at a different
time. If your dog is usually walked in the early
evening, consider changing the time of the walk on Halloween to
make it a bit earlier or a bit later to avoid the rush of trick or
treaters, who may scare your dog or cause unnecessary stress.
Also be aware that fireworks are available before Halloween and
loud bangs and sudden bright lights may spook your dog.
- Be aware of children. Your dog is likely
to come into contact with lots of children - probably more than
usual - on Halloween so it is important that you are aware of your
dog's reaction to children and can prepare accordingly.
Equally it is important to be prepared for children wanting to
touch your dog, which can cause extra stress, particularly if the
children are in costume and excitable. Visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/safeandsound
to find out more about keeping children safe around dogs.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, said: "Halloween
can be lots of fun for humans but can be frightening for dogs or
even fatal if the proper precautions are not taken. Actions
as simple as keeping sweets and chocolate out of your pet's reach
could be lifesaving and will ensure that Halloween doesn't turn
into a nightmare for you or your dog.
"There are lots of added stresses for dogs on Halloween, with so
many people dressed up in costume and various noises that your dog
may not be used to. Dogs are a part of the family, with
around nine million in the UK, and as such are likely to be very
much included in Halloween celebrations, so it is important that
dog owners do their best to keep their pets healthy, happy and safe
and can use the Kennel Club's advice to help ensure this."
for more information on how to keep your dog safe at
Halloween. Use the hashtags #DogsAtHalloween and
#AllHallowsDogs on social media to encourage others to make
Halloween a treat not a trick for dogs.