Cats & Dogs News / Pets

Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Owners

These days, Halloween is treated on par with Christmas as a major holiday for decorating and parties. It's not uncommon to see neighbors go overboard with spooky decor - be it skull lights lining the eaves or fake tombstones on the lawn. When you own a pet, Halloween can either be an ecstatic or trying time, depending on your dog or cat's disposition. If this is your first Halloween with a four-footed friend at home, you should definitely take heed of holiday safety tips.

1) Be careful with decorations. If you plan to swath your home in fake cobwebs or put up a Halloween tree (they do exist!), be mindful of choking hazards. A dog or cat might get tangled up in gauzy decorations or try to taste something inedible. If possible, keep the Halloween accents out of reach of paws and claws.

2) Be careful with treats. If you plan to keep a bowl of candy out for trick or treaters, it's probable a curious dog will want to sample what you're offering. Chocolate especially is dangerous for dogs, so you should keep candy out of reach when there's nobody at the door.

3) Keep dogs on leash when going out. The sight of dozens of costumed people on the streets may prove too much for your dog, and you may consider keeping him indoors until the peak trick or treating hour has passed. If he has to go out, though, keep a good leash on him can be useful if your dog is not used to Halloween nights.

4) Keep noise to a minimum. Some people like to augment their Halloween atmosphere with sound effects. My father used to play a haunted house record every year when we were little. While it may be good fun, if you find your pets are irritated by them you may want to opt for silence.

5) Have pet treats ready. If any dogs come to your door with their kids, you might consider having a treat out for them if the owners allow it. If anybody offers your dog treat, definitely make sure it's safe to eat. Many neighborhoods that host Halloween activities will try to include dogs in the celebration.

Lastly, if you have a costume for your dog and he resists wearing it, don't push him. It may feel uncomfortable if he's not used to wearing clothing, and you don't want your pet to be unhappy and have bad behavior encouraged. Watch your pets this Halloween and take cues from how they react, then act accordingly.

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Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on pet supplies and dog supplies.


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