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Make Halloween a Treat – Not a Trick — for your Pets

Halloween is a fun and exciting for children of all ages. But it can be frightening, and even dangerous, for family pets.

The strange sights and sounds of this strange holiday can cause some pets to become anxious and upset. Opening and closing of the front door may provide an opportunity for your pet to escape. And outdoor pets may fall prey to Halloween pranksters.

The pet care experts at Best Friends Pet Care encourage all pet owners to take a few precautions to keep the family dog and cat safe and happy during the Halloween festivities.

Coping with anxiety

If you know your pet will find the activity and strangers stressful, consider boarding him or her at a local kennel Halloween night. He’ll get personal attention from the staff, have the company of other pets, but be away from the chaos of Halloween night.

On the other hand, if your pet is flexible and enjoys the activity, you may want him to join you at the door greeting trick-or-treaters. Just be sure to keep your pet on a leash to avoid the chance of escape. Use a happy tone of voice when answering the door so your pet will feel reassured.

If you pet seems at all anxious, also ask one or two costumed visitors to hand him a treat, so he learns not to fear the situation. If she is still uneasy, don’t force the issue; close her in another room, away from the noise and activity.

Halloween safety tips

Many seemingly benign holiday traditions – from candles to candy – can also pose a threat to pets:

  • Make sure that your pet does not have easy access to Halloween decorations, especially pumpkins with burning candles and battery-operated devices.
  • Keep small costume pieces and accessories away from pets. They can be a gastrointestinal or choking hazards.
  • Put Halloween candy – especially chocolate – out of reach. One ounce of chocolate can be fatal for a small dog (under 10 lbs.). Like other poisons, chocolate poison requires emergency medical treatment. Be sure to have plenty of healthy treats on hand, so Fido won’t feel left out when everyone else is indulging.

To costume or not?

The decision about whether to dress your pet in costume really depends upon your pet. If your pet loves dressing up, you can include her in the fun.

Choose a costume, that doesn’t restrict your pet’s movement or cover his eyes. Also keep in mind that your dog will need to relieve himself after wearing the costume for a long period. Best Friends carries a range of pet-safe Halloween costumes. Check the Our Centers page for the Best Friends nearest you.

It’s a good idea to introduce the costume a few days of ahead of time, putting on one piece at a time. Make a fuss over how great he looks, and allow him to get accustomed to wearing it at home before the big day.