Published on October 28th, 2015 | by Debbie Martin0
Pet Safety and a Happy Halloween!
Halloween is a festival where we humans get the opportunity to have a lot of fun – but this fun does not always translate into a good time for the pets of our household. Halloween can even be a scary – even stressful time for them!
Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can minimise the impact of the Hallowe’en festivities on your pet. In this article, we’ll take a look at pet safety ready for Halloween.
Trick or Treat!
Over Halloween, front doors across the country can expect quite a few knocks from small groups of children, each of them demanding a fistful of sugary snacks. This means that, unless you plan on hiding under the bed and not answering the door, you’ll need to keep a supply of such snacks to hand.
If your household should be home to a curious dog, then you’ll need to keep these foodstuffs out of their reach. Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which while harmless to humans, is poisonous to dogs. For this reason, it’s important to keep those multipacks of chocolate bars somewhere out of sight. But even if we leave to one side the danger of a dog eating things that they shouldn’t, trick-or-treating is a potential source of stress for your dog – and potentially for the people knocking on your door, too!
If your dog is prone to barking and charging at strangers, then it’s probably wise that you keep them in a room far away. Likewise, if you’ve a dog or cat who is naturally nervous, then the same problem may result – except in reverse. In either case, the solution is the same – put the animal in a room away from the front door and ensure that they are comfortable and relaxed.
If you plan to go out trick or treating then make sure to leave you dog at home for the occasion as they could easily become overexcited if there is a lot of Halloween commotion, also think about what time to let your cat out that day especially if they get spooked easily around strangers.
Halloween is a time of year when we typically invite a small group of friends over for drinks and merriment. Sometimes we might even invite a larger group of friends – or even friends of friends. This sort of thing is part of what makes Halloween so great – but it’s also something that poses a distinct problem if you’re the owner of a cat or dog.
It’s worth conceding before we go any further that some pets will be more comfortable around strangers than others – and it might be that yours has the patience necessary to put up with the stress of being in a crowded house. But even the most patient animal has limits – and testing those limits could well result in trouble.
An overexcited dog may become boisterous and overbearing – and this can be a problem, particularly if you’re entertaining people who aren’t overly keen on dogs. Similarly, a naturally anxious cat might become even more so – and so gatherings of this sort can become especially stressful ordeals. This is all the more so when your guests begin to grow loud and obnoxious, as guests are wont to after a few alcoholic beverages. Throw in a few Halloween costumes – which are designed, after all, to make the wearer look slightly weird and unsettling and you have a recipe for a stressed animal.
As a pet owner, your goal is to make life as comfortable as possible for your pet. This means making sure that any source of stress is identified and eliminated. An animal may become especially stressed if they feel trapped. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that they have a safe, quiet place – like an upstairs bedroom – that they can retreat to.
Costumes for pets
Wearing a Hallowe’en costume is great fun. And, since we pet owners want our pets to be happy, it’s only natural that we want our pets to join in with the fun. And so we buy (or design) costumes for them.
Now, it’s important to consider that cats and dogs are not humans. They will not understand the pleasure we get from dressing up as Freddy Krueger, nor are they capable of understanding it. Dressing an animal up in a costume, however well-intentioned it might be, is not likely to result in a good time for the animal in question.
Halloween costumes can pose a few different problems for your pet. If they cover a pet’s eyes or ears, they may cause stress. Likewise if they inhibit a pet’s ability to move. Cats might want to groom themselves and will be unable to do so if their movement is restricted, or certain parts of their bodies are covered. Both dogs and cats might also find that their costumes are interesting things to eat so this might constitute a choking hazard, or they could damage the costume.
If you absolutely must dress your dog in a Halloween costume, then supervise them at all times while they are wearing it. Ensure that they are properly free to move and that they aren’t tempted to gnaw on their newfound attire. Suffice to say, if your pet should appear distressed, then remove the costume immediately.