Tips to Safely Celebrate Halloween with Your Pets

Before people pull out those Halloween decorations and candy, it’s important to take note of the dangers certain common holiday traditions pose to animals. A day filled with candy, parties and scary costumes can be a tough day for pets. It’s important to keep your pets’ safety in mind when planning their festivities this October 31st.

Consistent knocking at the front door, spooky decorations, and people in costumes may cause stress for your pets. Below are helpful tips for ensuring a happy and safe Halloween:

– Stash candy safely away. Several holiday favorites are toxic to pets so it’s best to keep candy out of reach. If your pet ingests candy, especially chocolate, contact your veterinarian right away.

-Watch out for decorative plants and candles. Curious pets may knock over a lit jack-o-lantern or candle and start a fire or get burned. It’s better to keep these decorations away from pets, especially corn cobs which can be a choking hazard to dogs.

-Don’t leave glow sticks out. Pets (especially cats) tend to love these and often bite into them, leaving a bitter taste in their mouth that can cause severe drooling.

-Keep your pets in a safe place indoors, including outdoor cats. Halloween can be stressful for dogs and cats due to strange masks and noises. Keep your pets in a closed room where they can relax away from the front door. This will not only help them remain calm, but also prevent them from darting out the door. If your animals are outside, make sure they are properly secured, have collars, tags and are microchipped.

Whether heading to a party, celebrating on social media or greeting little ghouls and goblins at home, getting the entire family – including the four-legged family members – involved in the Halloween festivities can be the biggest treat of all. However, it’s important to take some precautions to avoid spooking your pets, particularly if you’ll be dressing them for the occasion.

Make sure pet costumes are the right fit. Check to make sure the costume does not limit their ability to walk, breath, bark or meow. Any extra fabric may cause a choking hazard if chewed on. Wearing costumes can also increase your dog’s feeling of discomfort and make them more stressed and anxious. If your pet looks uncomfortable or stressed while wearing the costume, it’s best to keep them in their birthday suit for the night.

In addition to keeping your pets out of the candy bowl and tempering their excitement during all the hustle and bustle, keep these tips from PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert, Dr. Jennifer Freeman, DVM, in mind to ensure your pets are comfortable in their costumes so they’re able to celebrate stress-free.

Take baby steps. Start by trying a simple accessory, like a bandana, on your pets. See if they allow this and will walk around with it on for a few minutes. Not all pets like wearing clothes and some may become stressed or agitated while wearing a costume. However, many just need a little coaxing and positive reinforcement, such as praise and a treat.

Reward with something tasty. After you put the apparel or costume on your pets, reward them with their favorite treat to create a positive association between wearing the costume and getting a treat.

Ensure the costume is safe. Once you know your pets are comfortable in a costume, it’s important to ensure the outfit allows them to walk, bark, meow and see without difficulty. Additionally, if your pets can easily trip over their legs, try another type of clothing. Make sure there aren’t any accessories attached that may be easy for them to chew on or swallow.

Consider the weather. Pets can overheat easily, so ensure their clothing is not too bulky or heavy if it is warm on Halloween. Watch for elastic features around the paw area that may be restrictive and be certain there is enough room around the widest area of the chest to allow for proper air flow and ventilation.

Keep an eye on body language. Pets often communicate through body language and their behavior may let you know if they’re stressed or uncomfortable. Pay extra attention to your costumed pets’ body language while attending parties or events and watch for signs of discomfort such as pacing, hiding or refusing to move.

If you have lost or found a pet, in addition to contacting Greenhill Humane Society, contact your local animal control office.
• Cottage Grove – Cottage Grove Police Department: 541-942-9145
• Eugene – Eugene Animal Services: 541-687-4060
• Unincorporated Lane County – Lane County Animal Services: 541-682-3645
• Springfield – Springfield Animal Control/Police Dept.: 344 A Street: 541-726-3634
• Veneta – Veneta Animal Control/City Hall: 88184 8th street: 541-935-2191

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