Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Will Halloween make your dog a scaredy cat!

by Kris Phillips

Halloween is just a few weeks away and it’s easy to forget that tricks and treats can be stressful and even dangerous for your pets. Some things to keep in mind:

DSC_0086-003Costumes:  Whether they are scary, silly, or sexy costumes are key to a great Halloween. But your pet may not feel the same. When I was a kid I remember my Dad wearing a giant skeleton costume that totally gave me the creeps! I’m pretty sure I remember a few neighborhood kids crying too. And most of all our two steadfast shepherd mixes completely losing it. They bristled and barked and threw a fit at the creepy creature standing in our foyer. I think, sweet as they were, they could have bitten him if he’d approached without taking off his skeleton head and speaking softly to them.  Approach your & friends pets carefully if they seem edgy about your Halloween look. And then of course there are pet costumes to consider. I love seeing pets in costume! Just make sure the costume fits your pet comfortably and that they are comfortable wearing it.

Tricks: While it is unthinkable to most of us to harm an animal, IMG_20140326_115509_726pets are especially vulnerable to bad acts around Halloween. Black animals, especially cats, seem to be at even more risk. Even people meaning no harm could frighten your pet. Fireworks and noisemakers could scare pets into jumping fences or running away. Play it safe and keep your pets indoors at the end of the month. It may even be a good idea to put cats and dogs in a back room during peak trick-or-treat times to help keep them from darting outside or becoming overwhelmed.

Treats: Kids will be making their rounds, collecting goodies. When I was a kid my favorite part of Halloween candywas getting home with my big bag of booty, dumping it all out on the living room floor, and sorting the good stuff out from the healthy stuff. And then there was the belly ache that followed the next few days from too much sugar. Dogs are also prone to indiscriminate munching and no one wants to clean up the mess that follows. Chocolate, raisins, and xyletol are just a few common treat ingredients that can be very dangerous for pets. Make sure to keep that bowl of goodies well out of reach.

Props: Decorations may pose an unexpected risk to your furry ones. Make sure electrical cords are out of reach of chewers. Also, candle lit pumpkins could be knocked over by curious kitties or exuberant pups. Consider playing it safe with the battery operated kind. And make sure your pets have their most important props- proper ID tags. Even if your pet has a microchip you stand a better chance of getting him or her back sooner with a proper id tag with your name and phone number.

Don’t forget to have fun and take lots of pictures!

Halloween is a lot of fun and a few precautions can keep it fun for everyone! There are lots of pet friendly Halloween events to take part in too. Get out your best costumes and strap on your running shoes for the Scream Scram 5K on Friday, October 17th.


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