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Puppy’s First Halloween – What You Need to Know

Is October 31st one of your family’s favorite days of the year? Halloween can be just as enjoyable for your new puppy, too, by following these important safety tips.

Take Special Care with Costumes
Whether store-bought or handmade, everyone loves Halloween costumes – particularly a puppy eager to use her mouth to investigate every new smell and texture. Keep costumes, hats, masks, props, and wigs safely stored away so your dog doesn’t turn them into her next chewy toys. If you want your pet to join in on the costumed fun, dress her up before Halloween. That way you can make sure she likes her ensemble. The outfit should allow your puppy to freely bark, breathe, move, hear, and see.

Scare People, Not Your Pup, with Your Haunted House
Do you plan on playing a Halloween CD or incorporating motion-activated spooky sounds into your décor? Noises, especially ones that are unfamiliar, repetitious, or loud, can be jarring to your puppy. Even the constant ringing of the doorbell by trick-or-treaters may agitate your new dog. If your puppy startles easily, you may want to have him stay with a friend until after you’ve handed out your last piece of candy.

Puppy, Puppy, Pumpkin Eater
Place your pumpkins where your puppy can’t get at them. While a few bites won’t harm her, consuming a lot of pumpkin can cause digestive distress. And keep curious puppies away from lit pumpkins. One pounce could knock over a candle and burn your pet or cause a fire.

Treats for You, But Can Be Poison for Your Puppy
After trick-or-treating, do your kids pour all their candy out on the table or floor, eager to assess their loot? Make sure your puppy is kept away from all the spoils. Chocolate is toxic to pets, and the darker it is, the more dangerous it is. Consuming chocolate can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and potentially seizures. Candy, gum, and mints may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, a substance that is also very harmful to dogs. And candy wrappers can cause trouble in your dog’s digestive track. If you suspect that your puppy has ingested these sweets or their packaging, immediately contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control.

Stay By Your Puppy’s Side to Encourage Good Behavior
Keep a close eye on your puppy as he experiences his first Halloween. Let him watch you as you display items on tabletops and doors, and train him to not jump on them or mouth them. Note his reaction to Halloween sights and sounds, and if he gets overly excited, encourage him to sit and stay, then reward him with praise and doggie treats. Do you decorate the exterior of your home with fake cobwebs, mock gravestones, and ghosts and goblins? If your dog usually has his run of the yard, these items may be too tempting to tackle and devour. Opt for walks instead of yard play.

Ready to introduce your puppy to Halloween? Remember to take special care with costumes, arrange for a pet sitter if trick-or-treat sounds are too jarring, keep pumpkins and treats out of reach, and stay by your puppy’s side to encourage good behavior. Your constant attention will result in a happier Halloween for you and your pet, now and for many years to come!