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How not to spook your pets on Halloween

by Linzy Trueblood on October 8, 2011

in Cats, Dogs, Fun Stuff, Pets

How to keep pets safe on HalloweenCandy, costumes, caramel apples and pumpkins…what’s not to love about Halloween? It is definitely one of my favorite holidays (likely because I have a sweet tooth for candy). Unfortunately, it can be a scary holiday for pets. After all, there are ghosts and witches knocking on the door to their homes! To keep your pets safe and happy during Halloween, here are some important safety tips you may want to follow:

Black cats need to be kept inside.
Sadly, during Halloween black cats are often the targets of pranks or something even worse that may result in the cat’s death. Most humane societies will not adopt out black cats around Halloween because of the threat of malicious attacks on them. Make sure to keep your cat (of any color) inside to prevent anything harmful from happening.

Trick-or-Treaters can be scary to your pets!
Your pet does not understand that it is a human under that mask and may become frightened or even aggressive. Pets have been known to run away from their own homes because they were scared of people in costumes continuously knocking on the door. Your super friendly dog may snap or try to bite the scary zombie that is trying to come into your house. This is because your dog thinks he/she is protecting you. Keep your pet in a safe and quiet place until the trick-or-treaters are gone. If you want your pet to greet people at the door, make sure your pet is on a leash and you are holding onto the leash securely. Why? Just to make sure when Halloween is all over, the two of you are still together. Poor Fido may really think that scary Frankenstein is there to hurt him/her and might try to escape.

Candy is dangerous for your pet, especially chocolate!
It’s easy to get distracted with kids in costumes and trick-or-treaters knocking on your door. If you look away from the candy dish for even a split second, your pet can gobble up  all the goodies . . . wrappers and all! Chocolate is toxic and can kill them, sugar candy can cause major vomiting and wrappers can become obstructed requiring surgery to be removed. Keep the candy away from your pet.

Keep candles away from pets.
Jack-o-Lanterns are pretty, and many curious cats get too close to them and it can cause their fur to catch on fire. Wagging dog tails can easily knock over candles when no one is looking, thus causing a house fire.

Be sure your pets have identification tags on them at all times!
This is always important, not just on Halloween. However, during Halloween, doors to homes are opened more frequently and animals may become more frightened. Even well behaved animals may run out of their homes only to get lost in a sea of vampires, ghosts and goblins. Ideally, your pets should be micro-chipped and have a regular identification tag on them. Be sure that the tag you have for your pet has the correct contact information. A microchip is only good if it has the correct phone number and address registered to it. If you need to make changes, call your microchip company or change your details online.

Think about who the costume is really for before you dress your pet up.
It’s unlikely that your Pug wants to be Tinker Bell or your Siamese wants to be Yoda. However, let’s face it…costumes are just too cute on pets. Even I am guilty of dressing up my pets. If your pet becomes stressed or upset about being dressed up, you have to ask yourself, “Is it fair for my pet?” They don’t understand your excitement over Halloween. To them, it’s just another day.  Take some cute pictures and get them back to being comfortable without the costumes on.

If you are going to dress your pets up, make sure the costume is safe.
The costume should not constrain your pet’s movement. Be sure not to place anything around their neck that may be a potential choking hazard. Do not place anything over their eyes, ears or nasal passages. Your pet should be able to move normally, breathe, see, hear and smell the same they would without a costume.

Halloween decorations may be dangerous for pets, especially puppies and kittens.
Puppies and kittens love to explore new things with their mouths. Small plastic spiders, fake cobwebs and electric pumpkin lights are fun for them to pounce on and eat. Be careful to watch your pets at all times whenever there are new decorations in the house.

Halloween can be lot of fun for both humans and pets, so long as it is done safely. My dog and cats are fascinated when I carve a pumpkin. They watch in awe as I remove its guts. I’m sure they wonder what I’m doing. They think it’s funny when dress in a ridiculous costume, and they love cuddling up next to me to watch Charlie Brown’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin.” I love sharing Halloween with my pets, but I make sure they are safe and happy at all times.

Hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween this year!

Photo credit: my dog, Miss Iya

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