Halloween can be challenging night for families with pets. While some pets enjoy the festivities, the strange sights and sounds may frighten others. Cats usually hide, but dogs may run away in fear – or run after trick-or-treaters in excitement.
“Halloween can be unsettling – and even dangerous — for family pets. To ensure it is a fun night for everyone, responsible pet parents need to take precautions,” said Renee Coughlin of Canine Company, an at-home pet care provider.
She offers the following advice to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort:
- Choose pet costumes with care, making sure they won’t restrict movement or vision and that there are no small pieces your pets can swallow. Introduce the costumes a few days in advance so your animals get used to them. Canine Company professional dog trainers recommend offering a treat and praise to help with the process.
- Don’t force your pets to wear a costume if they aren’t comfortable. Instead, give your pets some Halloween flair with stencils and pet-safe paints, or you can create a Mohawk or punk hairdo with colored styling gels. A cute seasonal bandana is another option.
- Bring pets indoors before dusk. Pets left alone outside – especially black cats — may fall victim to tricksters. Some pets become anxious at the children’s shouts and the constantly ringing doorbell. If your pets seems nervous, confine them to a room away from the activity.
- Keep your dog on a leash to prevent him or her from dashing out an open door. If you have an Invisible Fence system, you won’t need a leash, but be sure he is wearing his collar so he stays safely in the yard. If you take your pets trick-or-treating, be sure they’re wearing identification tags in case they run off in fear or in pursuit of other children.
- Keep candy out of reach. Chocolate is toxic for dogs, so is xylitol, the artificial sweetener used in many candies and gums. It’s best to have pet-safe treats in your pocket or close at hand to distract pets from candy.
“With a little extra planning, we can make Halloween a fun night for the entire family,” Coughlin said. For more advice on pet health and safety, visit Speak! Good Blog!