Keeping Your Sheltie Safe on Halloween

Halloween poses some risks for Shelties. The frequent opening of doors increases the chance for an accidental escape. Even the more social Shelties may react out of the norm at the appearance of people in costumes. The best thing for your Sheltie is to keep him or her in another room with the door closed and a yummy Kong until the trick or treating is done.

Halloween Safety Tips

• Secure your pet in a crate or in a separate room away from the front door with a Kong or food puzzle toy during Trick or Treat time. Turn on the television or radio to mask sounds. Put a gate across your front doorway to avoid a potential escape, in case a family member accidentally lets the dog out of the crate or room to which he's confined. Be sure your dog is wearing a collar with tags.

• Keep decorations and jack-o'-lanterns out of paw's reach. Electrical wires, candles, and items that can be chewed or ingested are a hazard to pets. Candles that are knocked over can cause burns or create a fire hazard.

• Keep candy out of reach. Most sweets make dogs sick -- plus, raisins, chocolate and candy or gum containing xylitol (artificial sweetener) can be fatal. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures, and can result in liver failure. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rate—and even seizures. Raisins can cause kidney damage/failure. If your dog begins acting oddly, or you suspect he may have gotten into something, take your dog to the veterinarian or an emergency vet immediately.

• Pick up candy wrappers, which can be a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

• Many pets find costuming uncomfortable and stressful. If you decide to dress him up (only if your pet loves it), make sure the getup does not interfere with his movements or ability to see, hear or breathe, that it does not contain any small pieces that could be swallowed accidentally, and that it cannot get twisted or caught on something creating an asphyxiation hazard. A Thundershirt may be the best costume choice for your Sheltie!

*Dogs can have strong and unexpected reactions to people in costumes, even people they know. This can include barking, growling, lunging, snapping, or a strong fear reaction that could potentially generalize to other circumstances. Schedule your dog's walk so that he won't be exposed to trick-or-treaters, and be sure the leash/harness is secure and that you have a firm grip on the leash. Watch carefully for what your dog may pick up off the ground.

*Pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are swallowed.

*Watch for lost pets while out trick-or-treating. Snap a photo and post to Lost Dogs- MN on Facebook

Have a safe, happy and fun Halloween! Keep your Sheltie safe!