I’m not really that into Halloween. Although I enjoyed it as a child, these days trying to facilitate the interface between my six resident dogs and a steady stream of unknown, excited, costumed children is just plain difficult.
I could make all my dogs stay behind closed doors in a bedroom, but that just doesn’t seem fair to them, so I usually end up placing a big basket of Peanut Chews on my porch with a sign that says, “Help yourself!” and making myself scarce during trick-or-treat hours.
By the way, if you have dogs, please be extra vigilant that they don’t get their paws on any Halloween candy, especially chocolate. Candy in general is full of sugar (horrible for the immune system, joints, teeth, etc.), but chocolate in particular contains a substance called theobromine, which can be fatal to dogs if they ingest enough of it. (This applies to cocoa mulch as well, so gardeners and dog people, beware.)
Other food substances poisonous to dogs include raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, alcohol, coffee, uncooked yeast dough, onions, and onion powder. Garlic and avocado are debatable—there is some evidence that they can be toxic to some dogs, so it might be best to avoid those too.
Xylitol, which has become a common additive in foods and toothpaste, is also quite toxic.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten something poisonous, please call the ASPCA’s animal poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435. (Why not post this number next to your phone, just in case?) It’s open 24 hours a day, every day, but you will be charged $60 on your credit card in exchange for advice on how to proceed.
Obviously, this service is worth every penny—you’re dealing with the life or death of your beloved canine companion! Do have a safe and happy Halloween!