Some pets enjoy the activity of Halloween, but most find the holiday just a little bit stressful. As you’re considering how you’ll celebrate Halloween, take a few precautions to keep your pets safe and reduce their anxiety level.
Be Cautious With Pet Halloween Costumes
Halloween is the one time of the year when everyone dresses up, children and adults alike. Some pet parents enjoy putting costumes on their dog or cat and include them when they answer the door to the trick-or-treaters.
However, unless you know your pet loves wearing a costume, it can cause them undue stress. If you do dress your pet for Halloween, make sure the clothes don’t limit their movement, ability to breathe or to see. Costumes should not have pieces that are easily chewed off, as they could be a choking hazard. Try the costume on your pet before the event. If you notice your pet seems distressed or has abnormal behavior, consider using a festive bandana instead.
Even the friendliest dog can get agitated by the activity outside on Halloween. Scary-looking children and costumes may approach your pup for a friendly pat on the head and frighten your dog. Instead, when you go trick or treating with your children, leave your puppy at home in a safe room or their kennel.
Provide Your Pet With a Calm, Secure Area
Most dogs will bark and alert you with every knock on the door or doorbell ring. For the occasional visitor, this is normal behavior. However, on Halloween night when you likely have children knocking every five to ten minutes, this can cause significant distress in your pet. The increased activity can also set your pet on edge.
If your dog has a history of becoming agitated when strangers visit, this evening will exacerbate that behavior. Some dogs can get so worked up by the activity that they bark and whine all evening. This is no fun for you or your dog. Even the friendliest pet can be frightened by the costumes, so it might be best to keep your dog or cat in a quiet area of the house where they can relax away from the activity.
You can minimize the noise and activity by sitting outside to wait for trick or treaters. If you keep your dog with you on a leash, be sure they have a current, up-to-date ID tag. If you get distracted, they could easily escape. Dark and black pets also have a higher risk of being run over if they get loose.
Never leave your dog tied up in the yard on Halloween night. Cruel pranksters have been known to injure, steal, tease or even kill pets on Halloween night. Black cats are especially at risk. Make sure your black cats are safely indoors for the days and weeks around Halloween.
Candy: Treat for You, But Trick for Your Pet
Did you know that several of the popular Halloween treats you pass out to your trick-or-treaters are toxic for your pets? Sugar-free candies often use Xylitol, which can cause serious health problems. Chocolate can be dangerous for dogs and cats.
Watch out for your children too. Children can make the mistake of sharing their loot with their favorite furry friend. Make sure they know that what is a treat for them can be a trick for their four-legged pet. Spend a little time with your children making special Halloween treats just for your pets. Then when they come home after going door-to-door, they can treat their pets with something special.
Keep the candy out of reach of your pets as well. Cats and dogs are attracted to the scent, and eating tin foil or cellophane wrappers can cause intestinal blockage.
Take Care with the Decorations
Last but not least, take care with the decorations you have around your home. Wires and cords for electrical lighting should be kept out of reach to reduce the chance that your puppy or kitten will chew through a wire. This can severely injure them or even start a fire.
Some decorations will pose a threat, like lit candles. Carved jack-o’-lanterns can easily be knocked over. While pumpkin can be healthy for your dog, too much can cause indigestion. Think about the decorations you use from the perspective of your pup. For example, rubber eyeballs, glow sticks and fake blood can create choking hazards and are potentially poisonous. Instead, consider pet-friendly holiday decor.
Halloween can be a fun and active time for you and your family. Yet, in all the hustle and bustle, your dog may not get as much attention as usual. While you’re getting ready for parties and trick or treaters, give your four-legged friend a treat as well. At Walk! ATX, we are happy to take your dog for an extra walk or two so you’re free to finish your holiday plans. If you’d like your pet bathed and groomed before the big night, just give us a call at (512) 655-9557. We’ll help you manage your pet’s holiday exercise and grooming needs.