While Halloween can be a treat for us humans, it can be filled with lots of tricks for our fur babies! Halloween comes with spooky decorations, extravagant costumes, and tasty treats for us to enjoy. As a pet owner, it’s important to consider how all aspects of Halloween might affect your pet. Pet owners know their baby’s personalities, demeanors, and reactions to big changes. Holidays, especially Halloween, come with a lot of strange noises and strange people at the door. When considering whether to let your pet participate in the upcoming Halloween festivities, take into account their personality and behavior, as it will help you in keeping them comfortable and anxiety-free. Because there can be so much going on during the holidays, it is essential that we keep our babies’ safety as our top priority and don’t forget them in the hassle of our busy lives and fun events.
The number one thing that comes to mind when I think of Halloween is the fun costumes! October is a time to get the whole family involved with the fun and creativity, even our pets! The first thing to consider before choosing your pet’s costume is safety. Make sure the costume does not inhibit their ability to breathe, see, or bark/meow. Costumes can be a cause of stress for your pup or cat, so their personality and overall demeanor needs to be taken into account. Signs of discomfort related to costumes include:
- folded down ears
- eyes rolled back
- constantly moving sideways
- hunched posture
- tucked tail
Another aspect to consider is this crazy Texas heat! In order to counteract the heat, make sure your pet’s costume is not too constricting or heavy, and always have fresh water on hand. Also consider that when a pet parent puts on a costume, it changes the way a pup or cat sees their owner. If you choose to wear something extravagant, like face paint, makeup, or a mask, it might be a good idea to slowly introduce your costume to your pet in the days or weeks leading up to Halloween. This will help the pet grow accustomed to the costume. For instance, you could leave the costume lying around so that your baby becomes familiar with the smell. If you trust that your pup or cat will be able to wear a costume without becoming stressed, it’s such a fun and way to get them involved in this family-oriented and exciting holiday!
Stranger and Noise Anxiety
Unique to Halloween, trick-or-treating allows complete strangers to ring the doorbell and knock on the door several times during the night. If your pup or cat deals with stranger and/or noise anxiety, this doesn’t mean that you can’t hand out treats. One helpful tip in counteracting these types of stressful feelings is to put your animal in a safe space. Confining them to one room ensures they do not have to see several people. It also ensures they don’t sneak out the front door in fear. Playing soft, calming music and providing your baby’s favorite treats and toys can create a safe and comfortable environment.
Another way to minimize the sound of doorbells and knocking is to sit outside while you welcome trick-or-treaters. Pulling out a comfortable lawn chair makes it so easy to greet your guest while keeping your pet at peace. Making sure that your pet has a microchip or a collar with an identification tag will increase your chances that your baby will be brought back to you if they sneak out!
Keep an eye(ball) out!
As pet owners, we know that our pet often takes over every aspect of our lives, even our décor choices! There are several common Halloween decorations that can be harmful if you have a curious pup or playful kitten roaming around:
- Creepy eyeballs and other small items can be a choking risk.
- Fake blood and glow sticks often contain toxic chemicals.
- Extravagant spider webs can choke or even entangle your baby.
- Lit candles can be fire hazards if not kept out of reach.
Remember, you know your pet best, so just remember to consider these safety precautions if you have a sneaky boy or girl that likes to get into trouble.
Aside from costumes and scary decorations, another Halloween favorite is CANDY! Just like parents must sometimes hide candy from their human kiddos, we also should keep it away from our fur babies! So many popular Halloween treats are toxic to cats and dogs. The most common include chocolate, chewing gum, and any candy containing the sugar substitute xylitol. Also, watch out for kiddos who often don’t understand that sharing is not always caring when it comes to our fur babies. If you find or suspect that your pet has consumed a harmful treat, immediately call your veterinarian.
Pet-Friendly Halloween Activities!
If you have a friendly pup who enjoys dressing up and being around lots of other dogs and people, there are almost always local events that are pet-friendly! There are some fun and interactive options! Participating in these Halloween events will create memories that will last a lifetime and increase the bond you have with your furry best friends.
Here are a few to consider:
- On Sunday October 23rd at The Yard in McKinney, TX, there is an all-day costume event for your pups! If you bring your pup in a costume they will receive a free goodie bag with toys and treats!
- From 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sunday October 23rd, the Animal Rescue Crusaders of Texas will take a special Halloween photo of your pet when you make a donation. In addition, this event includes a virtual dog costume contest on Facebook! So fun!
- On Saturday October 29th, MUTTS Canine Cantina in Allen, TX will be hosting a “Howl-O-Ween” costume contest at 1:00 pm. It will be judged by celebrity dog judges! Categories for this contest include best two-legged and four-legged duo (owner and dog matching), funniest costume, most creative, and best in show!