Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - October 28, 2011

Pet fun on Halloween

Remember the dangers and hide the chocolate

by Dr. Kristel Weaver

These days our pets are considered our children. On Halloween, nothing is cuter than a dachshund in a hotdog costume or a bulldog pirate. I love dressing up my dogs on Halloween and get quite a laugh when they parade around as a superhero, princess or clown. This time of year you can find a rack of pet costumes in almost every pet store. As an alternative, many people make their own creative pet costumes. It is fun to include our dogs and cats in this playful holiday.

To keep Halloween a fun event, remember the potential risks:

* If your dogs bark and lunge when the doorbell rings, close them in another room with a food dispensing toy, put up a baby gate or keep them on leash. A fearful dog will be terrified of all the noise and costumes and might do better in another room with the television on, to drown out some of the noise.

* Keep in mind that chocolate, raisins and xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) are toxic to dogs. Not only is it important to keep the candy out of their reach on Halloween but also in the weeks that follow when kids have candy stashed in their bedrooms, backpacks and secret hiding places.

* Many dogs and cats escape from their homes unnoticed on Halloween. Make sure they are wearing an identification tag or are microchipped. Sadly, dogs and cats can be the butt of cruel jokes on Halloween. Black cats are notoriously targeted. Keep your dogs and cats inside to avoid any problems.

* I hope you and your four-legged friends have a fun Halloween. Most dogs I know are more than happy to perform a trick to get a treat!

--Dr. Kristel Weaver is a graduate of the Veterinary School of UC Davis and has been at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care in San Ramon since 2007.

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