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Doggie Trick-or-Treat Tips: How to Have a Safe Halloween with Your Hound

By David13676 @dogspired

HalloweenYour pumpkins are carved, your costume is picked out and there’s a bowl full of goodies waiting by the door. But before you trick-or-treat, be sure it’s only good things your dog has to eat.

Most people know that chocolate in any form is a big no-no for dogs. That’s because it contains a chemical called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine and can be toxic to dogs.

What’s one of the most popular Halloween treats? Yep, those mini candy bars that everyone loves are off limits for your pooch, so be sure bowls of them or bags of loot are kept safely away from anywhere a curious canine could find them.

Dark chocolate has a higher concentration of theobromine than milk chocolate, but really no amount is safe; some people say that two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide can be given to induce vomiting in a dog that has eaten something it shouldn’t, but you should always check with your veterinarian first.

But what about popping a few sweets to a dog that’s cheerfully accompanied you and your kids on your trick-or-treating forays at dusk? Surely she deserves a treat of her own?

Not so fast. Treats that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, such as some chewing gum, should be kept away from dogs, as the additive can be fatal to them.

You know what sugar does to kids? It can have the same effect on dogs, but who knows if they would find a sudden sugar-rush frightening or confusing. In any case, there’s no good to come from feeding your dog sugar, so save those SweeTarts for your own sugar tooth.

The same goes for hard candies, such as Werther’s Originals, and anything chewy, such as Tootsie Rolls. Keep in mind, too, that lollipops are doubly dangerous: the sticks could get lodged in your dog’s throat, as could the hard candy part.

Candy wrappers are probably small enough for most dogs to inhale without much problem, but it’s best to be on the safe side. Gently remind your children to keep any wrappers or packaging, which might contain melted chocolate or nuts, off the floor and in the trash. It may even be an incentive to keep the house picked up!

But a dog who has dutifully helped you hand out treats or has done the rounds in the neighborhood surely deserves something in return, so what is a safe, alternative Halloween tidbit for your Superdog?

What about baking up some tasty dog biscuits that will add a nice festive aroma when your neighborhood ghouls and ghosties come knocking? Blend 1 can of pumpkin, 2 eggs and 3 T of peanut butter, then stir in a ½ cup of oats and 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Roll out, cut into your favorite shape and bake at 350 degrees for about half and hour. Serve cooled and freeze extras or store in plastic bags or containers.

Even things that seem like they would be fine for your dog, such as raisins, grapes or anything containing onion, can be harmful. But there are other autumnal treats that are positively pooch-friendly, including apples (without the yummy caramel or candy coating!) and plain, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn. Popcorn balls are probably best avoided as the corn syrup that holds them together isn’t so healthy for dogs.

Lastly, be sure to watch your dog carefully around some of the other things that go with Halloween, such as open flames, which can singe fur or get knocked over by a tail, and decorations or costumes your dog might try to chew or eat.

Also be aware that noisy children and strange adults knocking on your door might send your dog scurrying for cover, or make it overly protective: don’t ruin anyone’s holiday fun just because you’re desperate to show off his devil dog costume. Let your beloved pet celebrate (or not) feeling safe and comfortable.

Happy Halloween!

~ Written by Laura Potts.  Laura is a writer, editor, and American transplanted to Britain, where Labrador Retrievers have inexplicably stumpy legs (by comparison to their lithe Yank cousins) but are still just as gorgeous. She lives with her family and Caber, the height-challenged black Lab, in the English countryside.

Tags: dog Halloween, Halloween, holiday

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