Georgia – Recent statistics show that over 180,000 children are bitten by dogs every year. Over 1.3 million dogs are lost and turned into shelters on an annual basis. Over 400,000 of these dogs are euthanized. Halloween is a time where the number of child dog bites and lost dogs dramatically increases. A 20 lb. dog getting into the candy bowl or a child’s goodie bag eating 10 Chocolate Bars could potentially poison him to the point of death.
“Each year, we hear numerous accounts of dogs getting injured or sick, or straying, during Halloween,” said Robin Edwards, Master Dog Trainer and owner of Home Dog Training of Georgia. “While Halloween is intended to scare people, it can be an especially frightening time for dogs, who don’t understand that the holiday’s antics are all in good fun. By being more sensitive to dogs’ fear-driven ‘fight or flight’ instincts, we can help keep our furry pals from regarding Halloween as a nightmare.”
Edwards offered the following tips for Halloween and your dog:
- Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, put him in a separate room away from the front door. This will limit his excitement, aggression or chance of running outside and getting lost or injured.
- Check your dog’s identification tag. Be sure tags are secure on your dog’s collar-just in case.
- Let your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween attire. Allow your dog to scent the costumes before putting them on. Keep masks off while your dog is around.
- Keep candy away from your dog. Many sweets-especially those containing chocolate or xylitol-are toxic to dogs. Problems can range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. For your dog’s health and safety, keep candy and candy wrappers away from him.
- Think carefully before taking your dog along on trick-or-treating rounds. You may unintentionally instill a new fear of strangers in him, creating a wariness that could last long past the holiday. If you do take your dog, keep a firm grip on his leash. “Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you,” said Edwards. “They often think they can only help you by acting aggressively.” Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner’s consent.
Robin has expanded on the above points. Her additional comments can be found at Halloween Dog Safety.
“Halloween can be a fun time for both humans and dogs”, stated Edwards. “Let’s make sure that we keep it safe for everyone, especially our children and dogs.”