Like most dogs, Sadie always comes to investigate the smell of food. But unlike most dogs, Sadie often rejects what she’s smelling as something she doesn’t want to eat. For example, Sadie knows and is not interested in the smell of chocolate. That is one quirk I’m very thankful for, especially at this time of year. Sadie will hear me opening a bag and unwrapping something and come to investigate. As soon as she smells that all I’ve got is boring old chocolate, she goes back to whatever she was doing. But if the chocolate is mixed with other smells, like candy with peanut butter or coconut, that is a different story. It always takes some convincing for Sadie to understand that even though it smells like peanut butter, it is still not for dogs.
I had to do a lot of convincing yesterday as I was preparing the house for trick-or-treaters. I always give out candy from one of the traditional jack-o-lantern pails. As I got mine out of storage last night, Sadie came running over to see what I had. I guess the pail smells like all of the candy I’ve given out over the years, so Sadie got very excited. She was running around my legs, jumping up, even barking, trying to get me to give her the pail. I kept telling her it’s “not for Sadie,” a command that usually works to make her understand when something is not for dogs. But this time Sadie would not give up. She was just too excited. So finally I lowered the empty pail down for her to look inside and her confusion was priceless. Sadie just couldn’t understand how it could smell like so many good treats, but be completely empty. Every time Sadie sees that jack-o-lantern pail, she wants to look inside to find the candy that makes it smell so tantalizing.
The moral of my story today is that you need to be careful with candy at this time of year. You probably have more candy around the house than usual, and in different locations. If my picky dog is interested enough to investigate the candy pails, I’m betting your pets are interested as well. Make sure you keep candy well out of reach of your animals, especially if you leave them home unattended. At my house I keep our candy pail on the floor by the door on Halloween so it’s easy to grab when the doorbell rings. I don’t have to worry about the candy on the floor since Sadie won’t go down the stairs needed to reach the area by the front door. But during the hectic doorbell ringing, trick-or-treating hours, don’t forget about putting your candy away out of your pets’ reach. Make sure you look around the house for any candy that may have fallen or been forgotten. I know when I was a kid I dumped out all my candy on the floor to go through it, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. One lonely, forgotten piece of chocolate on the floor can be dangerous for your pets. Even if that small amount of chocolate doesn’t cause immediate harm, it may give your pet a taste for chocolate that could lead to disaster later. So keep a careful watch over candy this Halloween season and make sure your furry family members stay safe and healthy.