Prepare for your pet’s part in Halloween

Originally published in the Rolesville Buzz
October 2013

Halloween can be a fun time for children, adults and pets. We recommend taking some extra precautionary measures to keep your pet safe for Halloween, including using reliable leashes and providing Halloween treats that are safe for your pet.

It can also be easy to forget about what our pets may be feeling as they participate in Halloween. Fear, anxiety and household dangers can all pose threats to our pets during Halloween. Below are some helpful tips to keep your pet safe and happy.

Always be highly visible. Make sure any costume your pet wears is very reflective so that your pet can be easily seen by drivers. You can buy reflective tape and add strips to the costume.

Be sure to check for loose ends and parts on any costume your pet will be near. Make sure there are no loose parts on costumes that your pet can eat. Objects such as loose fabric or buttons can become lodged in an animal’s intestines and cause an obstruction. Loose parts can also cause your pet to trip or become tangled in the costume, resulting in fear, anxiety and a future dislike of this holiday.

Make sure the costume your pet wears is not too tight or confining. You should be able to get two or three fingers between your pet and any fabric or tie that goes around your pet, especially around the neck. Costumes that are too tight can restrict movement and breathing.

Do not pick a costume that is overly bulky or too heavy for your pet. Your pet could overheat if the costume is too heavy. A heavy costume could exhaust your pet, as well. Take special care to check his level of comfort several times during the evening. Excessive panting or falling behind should signal you to remove the costume.

Listen to your pet. If your pet doesn’t like their costume they will let you know by trying to take the costume off and by barking. Costumes may be cute, but they can also be irritating to a pet that does not want to be in one.

Always use a leash. Your pet may become frightened or spooked by loud or unusual sounds and may try to run away or out of your reach and into ongoing traffic

Say no to treats. Candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for your pet. Pets may often be tempted to taste treats that are not intended for them. Candy can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Chocolate in all forms is toxic to dogs and cats. Only give your pet a Halloween treats specially made for dogs. Keep treats with you when you are out trick or treating, that way he can get his own kind of goodies.

Guard against strangers, costumes and loud noises. Pets should be kept away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers and strange sounds can be scary and stressful for pets.

Make sure your pet has their collar and tags on. Should your pet get spooked and run loose, an ID tag will help with your pets return.

Get your pet used to the costume you have selected. Have him wear it several times before the actual day. He will be so busy watching all the Halloween activities that he should not have to worry about some strange new piece of clothing.