With Halloween just around the corner, planning outfits and stocking up on sweets for trick-or-treaters are not the only things you need to be planning ahead for. Halloween can be a particularly dangerous time for our furry friends, with many things posing a threat to their health and well-being. Not only this, but it could even pose a danger to those that find themselves at your door.
Dr Linda Simon (veterinary surgeon) and Dr Emma Scales-Theobald, PhD (dog behaviourist) have shared six essential pieces of advice for keeping your dogs and trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween.
Ensure all sweets and chocolates are stored out of reach
Dr Linda Simon says, “Keeping all sweets and chocolate out of your dogs reach is advised all year long, however with Halloween comes copious amounts of both, so making sure they are kept where your dog cannot get to them is incredibly important.”
“Chocolate is poisonous for dogs, as it contains theobromine and caffeine, which are two stimulants that dogs cannot efficiently metabolise, so ingesting even a small amount can make them quite unwell. Most sweets contain sugar, but some use a sweetener called Xylitol. This is a substance that can cause a potent release of insulin from your dog’s pancreas, thus causing a dangerous drop in blood sugar and even liver failure.”
“It isn’t just the sweets themselves that are harmful to your pooch. The wrappers and packaging pose their own risks. Consumption of these can cause serious internal damage, such as blockages and other issues that could lead to your dog requiring surgery.”
Dr Emma Scales-Theobald, PhD says, “One way to ensure your dog is not eating things that they shouldn’t is to teach them the ‘leave it’ command. Teaching your dog this simple command will ensure you can stop them from consuming anything dangerous.”
“This is a relatively simple command to teach. Start with their favourite edible treat in one hand like Pooch & Mutts Probiotic Meaty Treats and a less exciting ‘leave it’ item in the other. Hold the hand with the boring item out, letting your dog get a good sniff and wait for them to move or look away from it. When they do, mark this with a ‘yes’ and reward them with the tasty treat from the other hand.”
“You should practice and repeat this until your dog is consistently looking away or moving away. Once they are, you can then start to add in the cue. Say “leave”, hold out the ‘leave it’ item, then as your pooch looks away, mark and reward. Over time your dog will start to look away as soon as they hear the cue, and you’ll be able to use this for anything you don’t want them getting into!”