Halloween Pet Safety
While you are getting ready for Halloween, planning your costumes, buying the candy and stringing up the cobwebs, it's a good idea to take a few minutes to make sure your pets are protected. Halloween can be a dangerous time for pets!
First and foremost, remember that chocolate is poisonous! If you plan to give out chocolate treats this year, try to place them in a sealed container, and keep them out of the animals reach. Also, take the goodies gathered trick or treating and seal them up, away from the pets too. Make sure children know not to feed candy to the animals. We all know the sad and sorry faces our dogs can make when we don't share with them so keep some doggy treats handy if you have a begger pooch. Resist the urge to give him just one little taste. Depending on your dog's size, chocolate can kill. Also, watch out for choke-able sized candies, elastic strings on candy necklaces and plastic wrappers that can choke your pet or cause intestinal blockages.
Cats have it particularly hard this time of year, but even dogs are not immune to the animal cruelty that happens around Halloween. If you own an indoor/outdoor cat or a completely outdoor cat, you may seriously want to consider keeping the cat inside, or locked in your garage or basement for the weeks surrounding Halloween. The same holds true for dogs that are allowed to wander unattended. If your cat or dog bolts for the door to get out, or demands pleadingly to go outside, consider crating your dog, or investing in a kitty cage to keep them safe inside (and also to prevent damage to your home if the pet is not used to being inside). I don't even want to mention the horrible things that happen to pets at the hands of suspicious and cruel people around Halloween. Let's just agree that it's a good idea to keep your pets close to home and outside only under supervision.
If you have a highly strung pet, like a dog that is afraid of strangers, take time now to try to acclimate the pet to the rigors of Halloween night. Doorbells ringing over and over can drive a dog wild. Lots of squealing children can scare any pet! Decide what you will do with your pet on Halloween night; will they stay in the living room with you, will they do better in a crate or closed into a room they feel safe in? Extremely sensitive dogs may do better with a mild sedative or perhaps a night out at the kennel or the vets office. Use your knowledge of your pet to decide what to do. In any case, keep a leash handy or attached to your dog for the first few visitors. See how they react to the noise and intrusion of gaggles of little ghosts, goblins and witches. If they are ok you can remove the leash and let them enjoy the fun. Also remind your children and your trick or treaters that even a pet familiar with you may bite and they should not approach any animals unless they have your permission first.
Now, on a happier note, a lot of people like to dress their pet up and bring them trick or treating with the family. What a fun tradition and source of great pictures and memories! But, just as we check the strings and buttons on our kids costumes, a little thought into a pets costume can go a long way for safety. Keep a pets costume lightweight, unless you have a chilly pet by nature; most pets have sufficiently warm fur coats and can get too hot in a stuffy costume. Remove loose buttons, strings or other bits that could be chewed or swallowed. Make sure that the costume doesn't interfere with your pets vision or ability to walk or breathe, also be very sure that your collar and leash are not obstructed so you will always have control of your pet. Even dogs who are normally sedate can get spooked by the noise and costumes on Halloween, so be sure you can keep a hand on them all the time, and if they aren't having fun, bring them home. Don't force a scared pooch to stay outside, or to wear a costume they don't like. If you're looking to buy a pet costume online, don't forget to use free pet store coupons.
Enjoy, have fun and post the pictures when your all done! Have a safe Halloween!