Halloween is only a few days away, and as you put the final touches on your costume and make sure you have enough candy to feed your trick-or-treaters, don’t forget to also take your pets into consideration! It’s a well-known fact that pet owners love to incorporate their furry friends into their Halloween plans, and while this is a great photo opportunity, it can also be stressful for dogs and cats.
Follow our complete guide below to make sure your pet has a happy, safe and fun Halloween!
Keep it stress-free
Any child will tell you that the best part of Halloween is trick-or-treating – all they need to do is dress up, visit their neighbors, and collect candy! However, this age-old tradition is not fun for family pets. Constant doorbells, knocks, and strangers on the doorstep can send even the calmest cat or dog into a frenzy.
As a pet owner, the last thing you want to do is see your beloved pal become anxious or frightened. This is supposed to be one of the best nights of the year, after all! If you plan on handing out candy, the best thing you can do for your pets is to plan ahead. Even before the first knock on the door, place your pet in a room that is separate from the entrance of the home where trick-or-treaters will be arriving. Make sure they have plenty of food, water, and any other comforting items such as toys and blankets, and do your best to ensure they remain calm. Having a plan in place ahead of time will greatly decrease stress for both you and your pal.
There are two parts to this section – first of all, pets may be better off staying at home on Halloween. We know how disappointing it is to hear this, especially since Rover looks so dapper in his dog tuxedo. However, being out and about with a group of kids at night, especially if there’s limited parental supervision, can be stressful for both the kids and the dog. Even with parents around, they’ll be focused on accompanying the children door-to-door which means your pal might not have the attention he needs on such a busy night.
Secondly, Halloween candy should be kept well out of your pet’s reach. Most pet owners have designed their homes to be safe for their furry friends, as they know that certain foods are dangerous for dogs (such as chocolate or grapes). Take things even further this time of year by keeping all Halloween treats away from your dog or cat. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious health problems, and children are known for leaving their Halloween candy in accessible bowls around the home that your pets can easily get into.
Don’t feel guilty for denying your pet a Halloween treat – just make sure you have plenty of their favorite dog or cat treats on hand!
Be careful with costumes
Halloween is a wonderful photo opportunity for your pets, and there is quite a big market out there for pet costumes! However, that superhero costume you’re planning on dressing your pooch in might be uncomfortable or tight, with elastics and belts that need to be watched.
If you have your heart set on a costume for your pet, you can make it work without stressing him out. Here are some tips to keep in mind…
- Be sure to choose a costume that doesn’t limit his movement, such as a loose pumpkin or apple costume.
- Keep it lightweight. Consider loosely tying a bandana around his neck for a cowboy-style costume.
- Be aware of choking hazards such as buttons or other small parts and remove any small items that look as though they could be chewed off.
- Do a costume “dress rehearsal” before Halloween and look for signs of discomfort or in your pet. If they show any signs that they’re not enjoying themselves, scrap the idea entirely.
- To be safe, don’t try to put a puppy or senior dog in a Halloween costume.
- Even if your pet is dressed in a lightweight, loose costume, don’t ever leave them unattended with it on.
Ultimately, you want to make sure you’re not putting your pet in a situation where they will be uncomfortable or restricted. Yes, the photo opportunities may be golden, but it’s not worth putting your poor pet through a stressful experience. Alternatively, take a photo of them in the fall leaves, or in a pumpkin patch!
Pet-proof your Halloween décor
Spider webs, cauldrons, lit-up pumpkins and skeletons are just some of the fun décor used at Halloween. And you shouldn’t miss out on filling your home with these decorations simply because you have pets – but you should consider them while you decorate!
If you have an untrained dog or puppy at home, you’re well aware of the fact that they’re prone to chewing on household items. While we’re sure that you’ve been vigilant about keeping electrical cords and other hazardous items out of a dog’s reach, Halloween decorations can be tricky. Sometimes, not a great deal of thought is put into them ahead of time, so dogs and cats will find items such as streamers, spider webs and extension cords within easy reach.
And don’t forget Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn! While these aren’t toxic to pets, they can certainly cause stomach issues when eaten, so be sure to keep them well out of reach.
Planning ahead will eliminate any potential emergency situations with your pets on Halloween. You don’t need to forgo any decorations, just be mindful of where they’re placed (keep them high, off the floor, and secure) and know whether your pet is able to reach them.
Here’s to a happy Halloween for you and your furry friends!