Here are some helpful hints to keep Halloween a treat for your pets instead of it becoming a rotten trick.
Try on costumes ahead of the big day.
If you plan to take your dog (or maybe even your cat) trick or treating with the kids, allow him/her to get accustomed to the costume you’ve picked out. Check that it fits properly and allows the pet to be secured with a collar/harness and leash. Make sure that any hoods do not fall down and block your pet’s vision. Also look for any dangling parts of the costume that your pet could get tangled in or that your pet could possibly chew off and swallow. Do some trial runs; walk your pet around the neighborhood in costume so that you can identify any potential issues and get them resolved in time to enjoy Halloween.
Keep the human treats out of reach.
Place the people candy inside a cabinet or closet to keep your pets from eating it. Halloween candy can be dangerous to pets, especially those containing chocolate or xylitol. If your pets should consume any candy, contact your veterinarian immediately. (For more information on xylitol, see our previous blog post: http://bit.ly/STAHXylitolInPeanutButter)
Be prepared for visitors.
Whether you’re holding a party or trick-or-treaters will be visiting you, consider how your pet reacts to strangers. Some pets want nothing to do with unfamiliar humans while others crave attention from anyone. If your pet isn’t super happy with visitors, consider keeping him in a quiet area of the house with some special toys to keep him entertained. If she spooks easily at the sound of the door bell, perhaps you can cover the ringer, leave a note asking people to knock, or sit outside to greet guests as they arrive.
Consider the “what ifs.”
What if your pet bolts out the door? Make sure your pet has on appropriate identification. This can be an ID tag with contact numbers or a collar with an embroidered phone number. Microchips are a permanent form of identification that your pet cannot lose. If your pet already has a microchip, check your contact information to be sure it is current.
What if your pet gets very anxious around strangers? Sometimes just being in another room isn’t enough. Some pets remain anxious because they can still hear strange voices or noises in the rest of the house. If your pet is upset by visitors, speak with your veterinarian to determine if there are medications or natural remedies which may help your pet be more relaxed.