Happy Howl-O-Ween for Pets

Pets have become more than just companions; they are a part of the family.

In fact more and more pet owners are taking the love for their pet to the next level and dressing them up for Halloween. This practice is fun and adorable but it’s also important to think about your pet’s safety to protect them from things that go bump in the night.

Alicia on “The Importance of Registration.”

Animal shelters often get a lot of animals around Halloween that escape from their owner’s homes or yards in the midst of all the commotion of the parties, guests, and trick-or-treaters. Before the big day, have your pet registered or even better, microchipped. If you can’t make that happen, be extra vigilant and keep an eye on your pet whenever the door opens or closes. Ideally, keep your pet in a closed off area for any parties or when you’re expecting trick-or-treaters.

If you take your dog along with you on Halloween night with the kids, keep it on a reflective leash and collar or harness. This will not only keep the dog safe from cars and running off, but will allow you to control it around other children. Even the world’s best dog can snap at a child with a frightening mask and an antagonizing attitude. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, keep it inside for the night as the extra cars in the neighborhood will be a hazard. Also- Don’t forget to have your Pet.doc filled out, just in case!

Sarah on “Leaving them Home Alone”

If you and your little goblins are going to be out all evening collecting treats, think ahead and make a plan for your pet. Does the sound of voices outside make the dog anxious or prone to fits of barking? If so, you might want to keep it in a room toward the back of the house and consider setting up a gentle noisemaker or playing the radio. In addition, you’ll want to eliminate needless doorbell ringing, which can agitate Fluffy and Fido. That means setting up a treat station by your front door. Instead of putting out loose candy for kids to pick and choose, purchase small paper loot bags, place two or three pieces of candy inside, and tie the bags closed with ribbon. Then place the bags in a bowl or plastic cauldron and cover the top with a few faux cobwebs. All kids will enjoy this trick to get to those treats — and they’ll be quick too, which means they’ll be less likely to disturb your pet.

Here are three additional ways to get your furry friend Buttoned Up for Halloween.

#1. Watch the Candles:
Curiosity killed the … well, literally, cats and dogs are exploratory species, so even if they feel the heat from a candle they may still try to touch it. Keep candles away from your pets.

#2. Check Costumes for Safety Hazards:
If you’re dressing up Fido, be sure the costume doesn’t have any loose parts he can eat! Loose parts can also cause your pet to trip or become tangled in the costume, resulting in injury or a future dislike of the holiday (yes pets will remember!). Also be sure that the costume is properly ventilated as your pet can overheat if the costume is too hot or heavy. Be sure to check your pet often to see if it is panting or uncomfortable. It’s also good to practice and listen to your pet: Try the costume on and have the pet wear it several times before Halloween. If the pet hates the costume, forcing him to wear it can cause bad behaviors, so be courteous to your four-legged friend- no matter how cute he may look in it.

#3. Be a Good Gatekeeper:
No matter how tempting, don’t give your pets people candy or treats. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats and the amount of sugar in other treats will make them sick. Keep your children’s loot out of reach so pets don’t dig into it when you’re sleeping. If you’re worried they’re feeling left out, give them their own doggie or kitty friendly goodies when they are behaving nicely to guests or wearing their costume proudly.