Tuesday, October 26, 2010

5 Tips for a Safe and Stress-Free Halloween

1. Keep chocolate and other tempting candy out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, and can make them very ill. Many other popular Halloween treats can also make Fido ill as well, especially candies with the sweetener Xylitol - it is highly toxic to dogs and can make them very, very ill. You might trust your dog to leave goodies alone, but with the noise and bustle of Halloween festivities, Fido may give in to temptation and try to sneak a bite, especially if you are occupied with little ghouls at the door.

If Fido does consume chocolate or candy that you are unsure of, you should call your vet for further assistance. Just remember - just because we can eat it safely, doesn't mean our dogs can.

2. Use caution when allowing children in costumes and masks to approach and pet your dog. Your pooch may not realize that these monsters and zombies are simply children in silly outfits, and may believe there is a real threat and act out defensively. If in doubt, keep your dog in another room while treat-or-treaters are out and about.

If you need to take your dog for a walk, plan your walk earlier in the evening before the kids come out, so that you don't find youself in a tight corner with children running all about and doing things your dog might find frightening in the dark.

3. While dogs should always be supervised when outdoors on a normal day, it is much more important that you keep Fido indoors with you on Halloween night. Children may decide to play *tricks* on your dog, or may try to feed him treats through the fence that they don't realize are unsafe (or that they know are unsafe!). It will also keep Fido from finding any dropped goodies on the ground left by excited travelers.

Just remember - no everyone shares the same ideas of "fun" on Halloween night. Sometimes one person's *tricks* are another person's tragedy. So keep Fido safe on Halloween night and keep him indoors with you.

4. Some Halloween music, with its cackling and screaming, can be very threatening and frightening to dogs, who don't understand that it's all in fun. If you are one of many who like to celebrate the season in style, with the full selection of decorations, lights, and eerie sounds appearing from the darkness, it is a wise idea to ensure that these lights and sounds are not scary to your dog before Halloween arrives.
If you are thinking of holding a party, or think for any reason that your dog may not enjoy the sights and sounds of your Halloween spirit, Fido may be more comfortable staying in a bedroom for the evening, or staying with a friend or family member for the night who will keep things a little quieter.

5. You may think that nothing can or will happen to your dog. Just to be safe, be sure that your dog is wearing a properly-fitting collar, with up to date ID tags and contact information. You can never be too safe on a night when the tricks may happen as much as the treats! Keep your vet's number on hand (which should be quickly available in case of any emergency anyhow!) just in case you need to place a quick call.

Some dogs do love Halloween. For those dogs who seem to enjoy the evening-long festivities as much as you do, with visitors coming and going, you can make a memorable evening for your guests. Some dogs like to dress up (but some don't!), Fido can show off some fun tricks, the kids can give him some treats (that you have provided for them), and you can safely involve him in the activities of the evening. If you do involve Fido as part of the evening events, just ensure that you have him on leash while the door is open or keep a baby gate in front of the entrance so that he cannot bolt out of the door in excitement!

Plan ahead. Keep your dog safe. A little thought can go a long way to make an enjoyable holiday.

Happy Howl-oween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harley Finds His New Family

It is with great pleasure, and a little bit of sadness, to announce that Harley is headed to his new (hopefully, keeping fingers crossed!!) forever home. He completed his second in-home visit tonight, and everything has gone splendidly. His new family understands all of his little quirks and that he will take some time to settle in, but he was very happy to play with, take treats from, and go outside on leash with the family so I don't think there will be any problems with him settling in. He ate his supper there and hopped up on the couch to solicit some attention. They are a quiet, retired couple who just want a dog to love, and who do not have any children in the home. So, barring any surprises, it's pretty much the perfect match for what Harley needs.
I'm going to miss the little guy. From that first day I brought him home and he was basically feral, to seeing him warm up and blossom with us, and then my parents, and then some new strangers, it just melted my heart to see him become a real dog and start to see the world as a less scary place. He was the easiest dog once he settled in, always stayed out of the way when you were busy, but played hard, loved hard, and was a real heart-stealer. The family said they would send regular updates, and I will be checking in as well. I'm sure this is not the last I have seen of him by any means, but I want to give them time to settle in and get to know each other before I had back for a visit.

To Harley, and all the challenges he has overcome, and to finding the family that will give him the home, respect, and love that he needs, and wants, for the rest of his days. Love you buddy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Antler Chew Toy Review: Two Paws Up!

If you have a dog who is a really heavy chewer, who can go through chew toys like they are candy, then this chew toy might be for you!

The Antler Chews from Blue Ribbon Pet Supply in Charlottetown have proven to stand up strong to the Schnauzer Trio, and their chewing power. I have had trouble finding a natural, healthy, long-lasting chew for my dogs that can stand up and last longer than a few days to a week. It is now the favorite chew toy in my house, and from morning until night there is always one dog chewing on it; you will also generally find a dog lying in wait nearby waiting for their turn to snatch it up given the opportunity.

The only store to carry them in PEI, Blue Ribbon Pet Supply carries antler chews for several sizes of dogs, and so far the quality can't be beat!

Playing the "bone game". Shimmer dragged the bed into the sunny
spot in the center of the kitchen. Gaci is chewing on the bone,
and the others are patiently waiting for their chance to snag it.