Halloween is a fun time for most of us, as we all indulge in parties, sweets, dressing up and fun! However, your pet may see this celebration in a different way to you. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe and happy, this All Hallows Eve.
Keep pets away from the front door
Constant knocking on the door, with excited children shouting “Trick or treat?”, dressed up in costumes can be very scary for your pet. Keep them in a room to the back of the house, with the curtains closed and the door shut. Put the TV on at a higher volume to drown out noises from outside and keep them shut away if you do answer the door. Keeping them in another room will stop them darting out the front door, and help them feel more secure. If your pet is particularly nervous, you could consider putting a sign on the door asking people not to knock as you have a sensitive pet. If you still would like to join in on the Halloween fun, you could leave a bowl of sweets outside your door, with a note telling people to take one.
Walk your dog earlier than normal
Again, excited kids in costumes, making noise can be really scary for your dog. If you can, walk them earlier than normal so you won’t bump into any trick or treaters. Sweets and wrappers could be dropped and found by your dog, posing a health risk. Finally, walking them earlier means they will then be nice and tired before the Halloween celebrations begin.
Keep cats inside
Like dogs, cats can be startled by trick or treaters. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so give your cat a litter box, and keep him inside in a quiet room.
Keep candy away from your pets
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate is very harmful to dogs. Make sure all sweets are well out of the way for your pet so they stay safe. Sweet wrappers can also cause blockages in an animal’s digestive system, so make sure you put them in the bin. If you don’t want your pet to feel left out, getting them a special pet safe snack for them to enjoy on the night will include them in the celebrations. Explain to children why they shouldn’t share their haul with the pets.
Keep pumpkins out of reach
Most Halloween pumpkins will be lit up with a candle, and a little nudge from your pet could start a fire and cause disaster. As for the vegetable itself, eating it can cause gastric upset and blockages, so it’s best to keep it out the way.
Make sure all pets are identifiable
Ensure your dog or cat is wearing an ID tag and their microchip details are up to date. Should the worst happen and your pet runs off, you want to make sure you get them back so check this before Halloween.
Keep dogs at home if you want to go trick or treating
Not everyone likes dogs (strange, right?) but you have to respect other people’s feelings, especially if you are knocking on their door. As already mentioned, the noise, costumes and volume of people may frighten your dog.
Be careful with costumes
If you want to dress your pet up for the evening, some dogs don’t mind wearing a spooky doggy jumper but others will hate it. As cute as it is, if your pet really doesn’t like to dress up, don’t force them. If your dog doesn’t mind, supervise them at all times whilst they are in costume, and check there are no hazards on the costume that could be chewed off and harm them. Make sure it doesn’t restrict his vision, movement or breathing.
Some costumes are really over the top and will cause your pet to feel uncomfortable and restricted, and even if they don’t mind wearing something, don’t leave it on them for too long, as they could become too hot. Consider a Halloween-coloured bandana, rather than a full outfit if you want your pet to look spooky. It won’t restrict them, and most won’t realise they are wearing it. Even with this minimal outfit, you should still supervise your pet if you decide to put one on him.
Keep decorations out of reach
Lights, creepy spider webs and plastic skeletons all pose a risk to your pet. Decorations that make noise could scare them, and could cause serious injury if ingested.
Keeping kids animal-safe on Halloween
If you are going out trick or treating with your kids, try to avoid houses with a barking dog, or those where you see a dog behind a fence or screen door. If you do knock on a house with a dog, avoid the temptation to pet dogs you do not know. Teach your kids to stand still and “be a tree” (hands folded in front and look down to your feet). Wait for the owner to move their dog inside, and shut the door before you turn away. Even if it’s a dog you know, never approach them. He may not recognise you in your costume, so it’s always best to avoid dogs on Halloween.
Stay safe, keep your pets comfortable, and have a very Happy Halloween!
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