Halloween isn’t always happy for McDowell Mountain Ranch pets
As the doorbell rang, my eyes cut across the room to the small, white ball of fluff lying on her bed. Excited about our first Halloween together, I had eagerly shopped for the perfect costume to showcase my beautiful little girl. On Halloween night, with decorations surrounding us and huge bowl of candy by the door, I was so excited by the thought of introducing her, in her beautiful costume, to all the trick-or-treaters who would be coming to our door. But, as the night progress and the doorbell rang bringing so many new faces, Fluffy had become increasingly agitated until this moment; now, she lay on her bed shaking. After filling the treat bags, I closed the door and turned off the light. Walking over, I picked her up and returned to my rocker, settling in, petting her gently and speaking softly. I told her that there would be no more doorbells or new people tonight and that next year, we would do things differently. It was a long time before the shivering stopped and she snuggled close in my arms.
Halloween is a fun time for children and adults, but for your pet it could be scary, dangerous or traumatic. Please keep in mind these important tips, offered by from the Humane Society of the United States, this Halloween when handing out candy or trick or treating.
1) Keep your pet in a quiet place, away from the noises of Trick-or-treaters. If you haven’t learned from the Pizza Hut commercials, dogs know to aim for the door when the bell rings! Try to keep your pet(s) in a contained area of your home with music or a noise distraction so that they do not get scared or go into protection mode each time the bell rings. This is an opportunity for Fido or Fluffy to bolt out the door so be sure to contain them in a separate part of your home.
2) Keep flame decorations, like jack-o-lanterns out of your pet’s reach. Pets are curious; they will try to sniff and possible burn their snout. If they don’t sniff they may knock over a candle or pumpkin and cause a fire.
3) Keep candy away from pets – Candy, especially chocolate can be toxic to pets. Wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed. Be sure to keep it out of reach from your four legged loved ones!
4) Resist the urge to put your pet in a costume unless they are used to it on a regular basis. Most pets do not like the constraint of a costume. If you do decide to dress them up, make sure the costume does not constrain their movement, hearing or ability to breathe. Check the costume for parts that your pet could chew off and possibly choke on.
5) Leave the dog home when you take the kids out trick or treating. Your pooch could get scared by costumes or frightened by the numerous people trying to pet them.
6) Be aware that your pet may not recognize you in your Halloween costume. Pets are very sensitive to different appearances. Even during some pet sits, pets take a minute to remember me if I have something as simple as a ball cap on!
By including your pet in your celebratory Halloween experience, you have the opportunity to create memories for a lifetime. However, in order for it to be the best experience for both of you, be sure to take the time to assess your pet’s needs and make the appropriate accommodations for his or her comfort and safety while you celebrate together…and have a very Happy Halloween!