• Christine Bauhs, CPDT-KA

5 Tips For A Doggone Safe Halloween



The holidays are upon us and lots of fun is in store, but the holidays can pose some unique dangers to our canine counterparts. Here are some safety tips to ensure that your dog stays happy, healthy and safe this Halloween.

1. Keep her secure. Halloween typically involves lots of doors opening and closing, which creates the perfect opportunity for canine escape artists to flee the coup. The number of lost dogs tends to spike around holidays such as Halloween, so please take care to avoid having your dog become a statistic. Keep your pet somewhere completely secure and be sure to make the environment soothing and comfortable.

2. Put a tag on it! Even if you have your dog tucked away in the coziest and most secure area of your house, it is best to err on the side of caution and make sure she has her tags on - just in case! Be sure that your name, address and phone number are clearly legible. And if your dog has any pressing medical issues, I recommend a second tag that lists them and the necessary medications - it could save your dog's life.

3. Hide the foods. We all know that dogs + candy is a disaster in the making, but all too often, dogs manage to get a hold of this treacherous treat. If you have a dog in the house, make sure that all candy is kept in a closed cupboard that is far out of reach of your dog - even when he is standing on hind legs. Do not leave candy on the counter or on the floor!! Even the most well-behaved dog can be tempted....why risk it?

4. Know your dog's threshold. Halloween can be a scary time for many dogs - the costumes, the excitment, the hoards of small people running around screaming and yelling - it can push many a dog over the edge. So take a moment to consider what your dog can handle comfortably, and what will cause her to feel stressed. A dog that is stressed out, fearful, anxious and/or insecure is much more likely to exhibit behavioral issues - and is much more likely to bite. Rather than set your dog up for failure, if you think she may have even the slightest problem with all the unusal activity, it is best to keep her away from it, preferably with something fun and delicious to occupy her (i.e. a stuffed kong or smart toy).

5. When in doubt, tire 'em out! I've said it before and I'll say it again...a tired dog is a happy dog is a well-behaved dog! Give your pooch a chance to burn off that extra energy, and the night will be a lot more relaxed for both of you. If you normally walk your dog for 30 minutes every evening, try going for an extra 20-30 on Halloween or before any big social event. The extra exercise will go a long way in helping your dog to stay relaxed and calm.

Christine Fasan is the head trainer and canine behaviorist for K9 Holistics. She specializes in German Shepherd Dogs and healing reactivity in dogs of all breeds. K9 Holistics offers dog training and behavior modification in St. Petersburg and throughout Pinellas County. We also offer pet care services including dog walking and pet sitting. Please contact Christine at info@k9holistics.com

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