Halloween and pets

Ways to Keep Halloween Safe and Not Smoky For Pets

In Animal Health, black dogs, cat first aid, Dog Behavior, Fall pet safety, Pet First Aid, Pet Safety by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

This year, Americans are expected to spend a scary amount of money – about $700 million just on Halloween costumes for dogs and cats. That’s according to the National Retail Federation.

For many people, Halloween is a major holiday to be celebrated. For some pets, there is no escaping Halloween. While some dogs may happily prance about in costumes, others get spooked by this noisy event and resist wearing any holiday garb that flattens their ears.

To keep Halloween safe and sane for our pets, let’s address concerns, starting with costumes. If your dog starts doing a Snoopy dance of delight, chances are good that he adores the attention he gets for dressing up. But if he hangs his head, licks his lips, shakes or dashes under the dining room table, he is telling you that the only attire he will tolerate are his collar and ID tags.

Cats are even more finicky about items on their bodies. With their pointed ears and desire to maintain feline dignity, it takes a very tolerant cat to accept being fitted with a Halloween outfit. My cat, Pet Safety Cat Casey, accepts wearing a lion-like costume on his head in exchange for tasty treats. But cats are candid, and many may swat or bite anyone attempting to put them in a costume. They may use their flexible bodies to wiggle free and head under the bed or on top of the refrigerator.

Pick costumes with safety in mind

If your pet is game, select a costume that does not contain any small buttons or items that could cause choking incidents. Select costumes made of breathable fabric with Velcro attachments that fit your pet and do not block their eyes, ears or impede their ability to walk and yes, go potty.

Bottom line: Let your pet make the costume-wearing decision. As cute as your pet may look in a pirate’s hat, his emotional well-being should outweigh any cheers and laughs from your friends.

Consider these Halloween safety tips

Ensure that Halloween does not turn into Howl-a-ween for your pet by heeding these other tips:
Exercise your dog during the day. This provides a great way for your dog to unleash some of his energy before Halloween night. Pick an activity your dog likes, such as a vigorous walk, a game of fetch, agility or sniffing out hidden treats.

Make sure your pet is wearing identification collars. Reuniting with your pet is better should your pet get spooked and dash out the door when you are handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Know your pet’s personality. Stage doorbell ringing rehearsals before Halloween. Social, well-trained dogs who alert bark and then sit on cue may enjoy joining you as you greet trick-or-treaters. But if the doorbell sounds and trick-or-treaters walking up your steps cause your dog to flee and hide, or heighten his turf-protective mindset, opt for Plan B. Usher your dog into an enclosed room before the trick-or-treaters arrive. Make sure the room contains a comfy bed, a keep-busy food puzzle, a favorite toy and water. Block out the holiday noise by turning on a television in the room or a sound machine.

Stash the bowl of chocolate goodies for the trick-or-treaters out of paw’s reach. Always monitor the candy bowl. Chocolate can be downright deadly to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk. Symptoms may take a few hours to surface, but dogs ingesting chocolate are at diarrhea, racing heart rates, muscle tremors, seizures and even death.

Don’t be a litter bug. Make sure everyone in your family gets in the habit of placing candy wrappers in a trash can out of access to your pet. Ingesting a foiled candy wrapper can cause choking and stomach or intestinal blockages.

Select battery-operated or LED candles in pumpkins. Avoid using burning candles inside carved pumpkins to prevent burned paws, tails and tongues. Hot wax ingested from candles can also cause burns and internal blockages.

Keep your dog away from a real pumpkin made into a jack-o-lantern. Some dogs are tempted to chew on the thick stem, but that can cause choking and gastrointestinal blockages. Also, dogs may suffer stomach upset if they nibble on a week-old pumpkin that now contains bacteria.

Learn Pet First Aid

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