Halloween is right around the corner. For many of us this means fun costumes, an inevitable 5lb weight gain as we let the leftover trick or treat stash go to “waist” (See what I did there?), one very busy night (and for some perhaps a whole weekend) and in general just a GOOD time. However like many of our celebrated holidays, this can be a scary and confusing time for our pets. The loud noises, changes in routine, costumes, frequent doorbell ringing, etc can be very intimidating and fear inducing. Before the weekend hits we here at SportsVet ask that you keep a few things in mind!
Stranger Danger: Is your cat or dog not the epitome of the social butterfly? Has Fluffy just been dying for that opportune moment to dart out the door? Maybe it would be a good idea to move Fido or Fluffy to a separate room away from all the noise with a treat to keep him/her busy. Without knowing how he/she will react around the commotion of the evening you may want to limit your pet’s time with family and friends as the evening progresses. Even family pets have their limits. Don’t push those boundaries to the point of your pet using claws or teeth to protect themselves during what he/she may visualize as a frightening or threatening situation. Understand how your pet might be feeling on a loud and crazy night. Try to keep their stress level to a minimum. In return this should allow you to have a more fun-filled and stress-free night as well.
Gimme some sugar: In a world wound up with food allergies, and the crazy neighbor down the street, adults and kids need to keep in mind the dangers many Halloween treats could pose to our pets as well. We mainly focus on chocolate being a concern when ingested, but some sugar substitutes (Xylitol) and raisins can be dangerous as well. Regardless of the treat, all the fat, sugar, and possibly ingested wrappers are not good for your pet. The last thing anyone wants to mess with is an emergency visit to the vet because your dog got into the KitKats and polished off the entire bag wrappers and all!
Playing dress up: Okay, admit it, there are few things cuter in life than a dachshund sporting a hot dog costume. It can be fun and many pets may not mind the costume because it means lots of extra love and attention. But ask yourself, who are we really benefiting? Are we laughing at the expense of our pet and stressing them in the process? Perhaps a T-shirt or cape is not bothersome but placing a mariachi hat on your cat may result in retaliation in whatever form he/she specializes in (urine on your bed is always an option!) If you do dress up your pet, be sure they can see, breathe, hear and walk. Remember, if you wouldn’t be comfortable, then Fluffy likely isn’t either. Are there parts of the costume they could chew off and eat? Remember that everyone (pets and kids included) has a limit, for some pets that may be five minutes and for another you have approximately 5 seconds to snap a photo before Scruffy has become the Incredible Hulk and the costume is left tattered and strewn about.
Final Thoughts: Make sure any potential fire hazards (jack-o-lanterns and spooky candles) are kept out of reach of your pet. This may be difficult for a cat that has no difficulty scaling the bookshelf so perhaps secluding your feline friend for the evening truly in his/her best interest. Also, glow sticks which may seem like a safe option for kids out trick-or-treating, can become a fun chew toy if left unattended. Most likely the sticks are nontoxic, but who really wants to take that risk? At the end of this crazy night, don’t forget to reward your pet with some TLC, perhaps a healthy treat and some quiet comfy snuggles without any stress. Trust me your pets will appreciate it even more than those Reese’s pumpkins you have tossed in the candy bowl!