This Week on Brooklyn Pup

  • Keeping Your Best Friend Safe on Halloween

    For pets, one of the most common health hazards for pets leading up to and after Halloween is the increased availability of potentially toxic food items.

    • All forms of chocolate, candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, and discarded wrappers, pose a significant risk to a pet’s health if consumed. Symptoms from ingesting harmful toxins can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, accelerated breathing or heart rate and even seizures. Pet owners should keep any candy in a confined, elevated location, where it will be out of reach from pets.
    • Halloween dangers are not exclusive to toxic candy. Common Halloween activities like handing out candy to trick-or-treaters or hosting a party can overstimulate pets and cause them to become anxious. This combined with an increased foot traffic in and around the home provides an opportunity to escape outdoors and become lost.
    • Keep you pets in a safe, confined area away from all Halloween activities. Pet owners should also ensure pets are always wearing proper identification and consider having their pet microchipped. This dramatically increases the chances they will be returned if lost.
    • Halloween decorations can also be deadly for curious pets. Jack-o-lanterns, candles, fake spider webs and electric cords should all be kept in areas away from household pets for their safety and the safety of others. Small decorations like, fake body parts and toys can also become a choking hazard for pets if left within reach.
    • Finally, pet owners should be cautious when considering a Halloween costume for their pet. The personality of each individual pet varies, as does the kind of costume a pet may be willing to tolerate.
    • The best advice is to always keep a pet’s temperament and safety in mind while choosing a costume and keep things simple. If a pet appears uneasy or uncomfortable it is best to remove the costume immediately.


    The Primay And most important period of puppy socialization is the first three months of life. During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and positively.

    Incomplete or improper socialization during this important time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. 

    Veterinarians specializing in behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy classes prior to three months of age can be an excellent means of improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness can be minimized.

    without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.

    Lack of socialization is a threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the number one cause of relinquishment to shelters. Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause of death for dogs under three years of age.

    In general, puppies can start puppy socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up-to-date on vaccines throughout the class.

    Because the first three months are the period when sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new people, sights sounds, dogs and other animals.

    Vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem.

    Check out the American Veterinary Society's website for the latest guidelines and information on caring for your dog.