The season of tricks and treats is upon us. Soon, the pumpkins will be set aglow and the candy bowls will overflow. For your pet, it’s a spooky scene that can quickly turn scary if you’re not properly prepared.
Depending on their personality, there are lots of Halloween traditions that can make your pet feel like they’re being hexed. Some revel in the attention they get being all dressed up in a cute costume. For others, clothing feels like being buried alive and the constant clamor from neighborhood trick-or-treaters is enough to drive them batty. For the sake of all the living creatures in your household, playing it safe with decorations and making some day-of adjustments will help the season stay merry and fright.
Looking to make this All Hallows’ Eve a bone-i-fied success? Use these tricks to treat your little monster to a holiday so fun it will have them howling.
When the Ghouls Come a Knocking
The constant ding of the doorbell and knocking on your front door can really be really bone-rattling. If Fido is used to rushing the scene when someone comes calling, best to keep him far away – lest you want it to be a threshold of terror for all involved.
The late-night rapping and trick-or-treat chanting are likely to send your dog to a protective place. In this state they’re more likely to act out of character, running into the street or lashing out at costumed kiddos. And while you might want to be known as the scariest house on the block, it’s probably not because Fido has turned Cujo.
If your pup is struggling with all the commotion, try distributing candy from your porch or yard so no one has to come all the way to the door.
The Danger with Decorations
Many of us feel possessed to decorate our homes this time of year. Problem is, if not well thought out, those decorations could come back to haunt you.
Candles seem to call to cats and wagging puppy dog tails. Leave them unattended for even a moment and your entire life could just go up in flames. String up something shiny and it could be misconstrued as something snacky.
When it comes to cobwebs, even if your dog isn’t creeped out by them they still run the risk of getting caught in them. Same goes for lights you might have strung up. Not only are they a choking hazard, but they’re also a chewing hazard. Be sure both ends of the strand are out of reach. Don’t hesitate to move a piece of furniture in front of the plug portion either.
As for glow sticks, the game is keep away. Even if the liquid inside isn’t expressly toxic, it still isn’t good for them. A quick chew to the center could leave them salivating and acting a bit mad.
Treats can get Tricky
You’ve probably heard it’s not safe to give dogs chocolate, but really the warning extends to all sweets. Yes, the theobromine in cocoa can be lethal; however, so can the sugar alcohol known as Xylitol, which is present in all kinds of candies.
Still, it’s not just what’s on the inside of the candy bag that isn’t good for the guts. Plastic wrappers can create deadly blockages to the intestines, and foil wrappers can slice and dice the soft tissues resulting in internal bleeding. Wooden and cardboard sticks from sweets like suckers come with the risk of choking and have the potential to cause internal damage to organs.
Double and triple check that you have candy stored properly. Preferably up high so nothing can sneak in. It’s also a good idea to make sure kiddos aren’t sneakily storing it in their rooms, too. Cats and dogs have super strong sniffers that can reveal even the cleverest hiding spots.
We’re sure you’ve come up with a killer Halloween costume for your dog. But if it restricts their movement or their breathing, best to kill the idea altogether. It’s one reason you shouldn’t wait until the witching hour to see how your dog reacts to her costume. Test it out ahead of time to make sure they can walk and breath easily.
As a general rule, bury the thought of using masks, muzzles, or anything else that prevents them from eating or drinking as normal. Check to see that the fabric is breathable, too. This is extremely important for flat-nose breeds that can more easily overheat. Next, pin back any flaps, straps, or buttons. Remember anything that can be chewed on can be choked on.
Yet another reason why you should never leave your pet unsupervised when dressed supernaturally.
Is your dog rejecting a costume completely? They’ll still look spook-tacular in something low-key like a festive collar or Halloween themed bandana.
Prevent a Mysterious Doggie Disappearance
Even if you think it’s unlikely, it couldn’t hurt to do a little advanced prep in case your cat or dog gets spooked and bolts.
Make sure all your dog’s microchip information is up to date, especially your address and phone number. You should do the same for the tags on their collar.
Taking your dog trick or treating? Add a little reflective tape or some glow in the dark lights to their costume or harness. You could also make sure they stay visible by attaching a small flashlight underneath their collar.
If they’ll stay home while you take to the streets, make sure they get plenty of exercise a few hours leading up to your departure. It’ll help with any separation or noise anxiety.
And with that, we hope you have a safe and frightfully good time with your fur friend this Howl-oween.