It never ceases to amaze me that people in my neighborhood decorate for Halloween as much as they do for the winter holidays. Cobwebs, tombstones and pumpkins adorn the yards and front porches of homes up and down my street. And while it’s all fun and games for humans on Halloween night, it can be a truly frightful experience for dogs and cats. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will hopefully make Halloween a little less spooky for your pets.
Treats can be tricky. Cats, those finicky eaters, may leave candy alone, but dogs will beg for anything. Before you share, however, beware! Many ingredients in Halloween treats are dangerous or even deadly for pets. You probably know that, even in small amounts, chocolate can be toxic for dogs. It’s important to make sure sweets of any kind are stashed away and safely out of reach. Keep in mind that raisins, nuts and candy wrappers are also serious no-nos.
Keep Halloween happenings on the down-low. Ringing doorbells and creepy costumes can send any pooch into a frenzy. If your dog is skittish, nippy or overexcited by strangely clad visitors, give them a safe, quiet spot away from the action—that means away the front door. My safe place is a comfy pillow, watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and eating sweet potato treats.
Prevent door-dashing. A cracked door looks like the perfect escape route to a rattled pup. If your dog does slip out the door, it’s crucial for them to have visible identification so they can make their way back home with the help of a kind soul (or a friendly ghost). It’s also a good idea to update your pet’s microchip.
Walk before dusk. Danger lurks around dark corners, so walk early—and have your dog wear a harness, not a collar. A scary sound or creepy crawler could cause them to slip out and get away. A secure harness and strong leash will keep them close and safe from harm.
Be bright to avoid a fright. If you do take a walk after dark, use a reflective leash and harness or reflective tape that will be visible. After all, ghouls and goblins will be roaming the streets.
Be cautious with costumes. You might want to dress up your dog for Halloween. My mom wants to dress me like a candy corn dog, even though I prefer my birthday suit. Be sure to choose a costume that is comfortable and lets your dog breathe, bark and see. Avoid small dangling pieces that could cause choking.
Steer clear of dangerous decorations. Take heed. Jack-O-Lanterns with candles can be a nightmare if knocked over by a wagging tail. Glow sticks look fun to chew, but the liquid inside tastes bad and makes animals act strangely. Be wary of wires and cords plugged into walls. One bite could cause a burn or, worse, a life-threatening shock.
Mark my words: If you sniff out these dangers and play it safe, Halloween can be a howling good time for everyone.