I’m so sick of being reminded not to let my dogs eat chocolate on Halloween!
Don’t we all know this by now?
Haven’t we all been told so many times that chocolate is dangerous for dogs that we just roll our eyes and our dogs mutter, “Sure, right, understood, got it, heard you the first 12 times you said this. Relax. We’d rather eat steak anyway.”
But while we’re on “cocoa is toxic to dogs” at the top of everyone’s Halloween Worry List, let me just say 2 things about “chocolate.”
1) People eat chocolate and chocolate-containing foods all year long, so I don’t think there’s any point focusing on chocolate only at Halloween, on one day out of 365. [To my mind, it’s sort of like expressing love on Mother’s Day – shouldn’t you be showing affection and appreciation to your mother every day of the year?] Shouldn’t you always be parking your 78% dark chocolate bar in the fridge or your underwear drawer, out of canine reach?
2) A vast number of so-called chocolate sweets, cakes and cookies are actually “chocolate-flavored” and contain barely a trace of the actual cocoa, which is what isn’t good for dogs. So if you’re not sharing with your dogs it’s just plain selfish (although clearly it’s better animal care to be offering a nice dog-appropriate piece of carrot or a freeze-dried Liv-a-Little cube of salmon).
Instead here are some fresh safety tips for dogs and cats during the days and nights around Halloween festivities that you might not have previously considered:
- Pets will do best when excluded from all the comings-and-goings. The unusual sights and sounds can be dsiturbing to them.
- Put your dog in a room behind closed doors when Halloween parties are underway or you’re expecting trick-or-treaters. Dogs can be startled, frightened or reactive to people in costumes and might react defensively or offensively to their presence.
- Put your cat in a closed off room with a cat tree to escape up to and/or a safe hiding place.
- With the door opening and closing, there’s the chance of a pet being disoriented or fearful and running out while you’re distracted with the celebrations. To remove the risk of him getting lost, always – not just on Hallo0ween! – make sure your pet is properly identified with microchip, collar and ID tag.
- Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products may not actually be toxic, it tastes horrible and can sicken your dog or cat.
- If you plan to put a costume on your dog, buy it beforehand and get her used to it before Halloween. Make sure it fits comfortably and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, or movement.
- Don’t leave your dog unsupervised while wearing a costume, which often have pieces that can be chewed off.
- Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets, especially cats who might find them an interesting interactive exhibit. This is both for the safety of the pets and of your family, as a tipped over candle can cause a tragedy.
Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.
Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.