Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Halloween is right around the corner and I am not certain how your pets react to the little ghouls and goblins and princesses that come knocking for treats, but mine lose their minds! Henrietta, the diva Poodle, barks her head off, Spenser just wants to see the kiddies and play with them, the kitties either puff up and run around or hide until it’s all over. We have learned that only one of us in the house can answer the door for the trick-or-treaters; the other of us has to stay in the bedroom with all of the pets, with the door closed, and the television on to help keep them calm and safe from harm.
Henrietta would gladly spend the time on the back of the couch, looking out the windows barking. Spenser would try to shove his way out the door to see what all the excitement is about. The cats would dash back and forth and sometimes come by the door. This is far too dangerous for any and all of us. The noises, the masks and a bevy of children knocking at the door all add up to make all of our pets ill at ease and out of sorts.
Trick-or-treating is great fun for the children, but not so much for for you or your pets in most cases. Here are my tips for keeping your pets safe on Halloween:
Don’t let your pets by any open doors. Make certain there is no way your pet can slip out the door when you open it to hand out the candy. Even a dog who would generally not make a break for it could become so highly stressed that he would run out into the night. I suggest having your pets in a room where there is no chance they can get to the open door. Remember that Halloween is one of the biggest times of year when pets go missing. Don’t let your pet become a statistic. This is a great reminder to have your pet microchipped and to have them wear a collar with your contact information on it.
Candy and candy wrappers are not good for your pet. Chocolate can be deadly for dogs any time of the year but at Halloween there will likely be more chocolate lying around than usual. Keep it out of reach and up in a cupboard so she can’t get to the stash. Your cats may be drawn to the crinkly, brightly colored candy wrappers and may have fun chasing it around, but if they swallow it it could lead to intestinal issues.
Use battery operated “candles” in your pumpkins. This will prevent any fire hazards. You don’t want a child to get injured because he poked his fingers into your pumpkin. Also, the flames could injure your pets or cause a fire on your porch. A dog’s wagging tail or a curious cat could knock the pumpkin over and cause a fire. Also, a cat could be drawn to the flickering of the candle light and think it’s something to be played with and hurt himself.
Leave your dog at home. You may be tempted to dress your dog in a costume and take him or her trick-or-treating with you and the children, but I urge you to leave him at home. Even the most mild-mannered dog might become reactive if he is eye level with a child in a costume and is surrounded by unfamiliar sights and sounds. You truly aren’t doing him any favors by bringing him trick-or-treating. Leave your beloved pet at home with a family member is a safe, quiet place while you take the children out.
Lock up the cats. Keep your cats in a pet-friendly room during the trick-or-treating festivities. If you have “outdoor” cats, try to get them into a secure location for the evening as well.
Visit Mother Nature early. Before the festivities begin take your pet outdoors to do his business. I know that Henrietta will not do her business if there are any distractions and children marching through your yard is a big distraction!
Don’t dress your pet… unless she is accustomed to it. Henrietta loves playing dress up, but Spenser does not. I wouldn’t try to put a clothes on him any time of the year, but I definitely wouldn’t try to put him into a costume on a day of the year when he will be even more stressed out than usual. Only you know how your pet will react to clothing or costumes, but if you’re not sure, Halloween might not be the best time to try it out.
What are your best “keep your pets safe on Halloween tips”? Let us know in the comments below.
(Photo Shutterstock: Pets in costumes
Photo Henrietta in dragon costume)