Tips for keeping your dog safe on Halloween

Published10/28/2009 12:01 AM

Q. What can I do for my pet to ease the stress of Halloween? My poor dog gets as stressed out as he does from the fireworks on the 4th of July.

- Greg Batwinski, Downers Grove


A. Greg, you pose a common question, and there are some simple solutions.

Dogs can really stress over the kids arriving at the door in costume; many dogs show signs of stress even if their owner puts on a mask. To save them from having to determine who is friend and who is foe on Halloween, find them a quiet place in the house.

If the weather is nice enough, sit outside and hand out candy so the doorbell or knock at the door isn't getting Fido up and on patrol, wanting to run to the door every time a trick-or-treater comes your way.

If your dog suffers far more than the average dog, you may consult your veterinarian in advance about medicines available that will help your dog during this stressful time.

Halloween poses other dangers to your pet that you may not have considered yet.

• Absolutely no chocolate for your dog. It is, literally, poison. The ASPCA poison control line for pets is (888) 426-4435.

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• Beware of fire hazards and pets. Candles and fur don't mix well, plus pets may knock over candles and cause more harm than just to themselves.

• Keep current identification tags on your pet, because your happy house pet may slip outside during one of the frequent door openings on Halloween.

For a Happy Halloween, let's keep our pets calm and away from the commotion and keep our kids safe.

• To submit questions about the animal community, visit Ask the Director at

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