I have always thought of Halloween as the official start of the fall festivities! For families with children, Halloween tends to be a favorite holiday. Kids get to dress up in costumes, socialize, and collect boatloads of candy. If you have pets involved in the mix, sometimes Halloween can turn out to be exciting! Here are some tips for enjoying a great Halloween with the pets.
Going Trick Or Treating?
If you plan on bringing the dog along for trick-or-treating, make sure to have your pup on a sturdy leash. Some Halloween costumes can frighten pets, and even if your dog is great around people, they can get overwhelmed easily. Make sure an adult is in charge of the pup at all times so that the kids don’t get pulled everywhere or drop the leash. Have a good collar and ID tag on the pup in case you get separated for any reason.
There are rare occasions where folks will bring other critters with them trick or treating, such as cats or rabbits, as they may compliment a Halloween costume. Make sure to keep an eye out for any distractions your dog might find exciting. If you are the one that is going to bring a small animal with you for trick-or-treating, outfit them in a collar or harness so they can be easily picked up if they happen to get away from their handler. When trick-or-treating, be cautious of other animals that might find them as a treat! Be aware that some homeowners might not appreciate you bringing your pets right up to their door.
Staying at Home?
If you are staying home to pass out candy, have a safe area for your pet to stay in your house that is not easy access to the front door. With the doorbell ringing, door knocking, and general commotion of folks coming to the door, your pet might get excited and slip out the door one of the times it is opened. Even if your pet enjoys being around some company, the number of people coming and going might overwhelm them.
Give your pet their favorite treat or toy to play with and place them in a quiet area of your home while the trick or treating is happening. For dogs, using a baby gate to section them off in a specific part of the house might work. For cat owners, it’s a good idea to have your kitty in a bedroom with the door closed during the excitement. If your dog or cat doesn’t usually wear a collar and ID tag when they are at home, it would be a good idea to put one on them during the festivities just in case something happens, and they slip out the front door.
Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Pets
Rather than taking your pet with while you are trick or treating around the neighborhood, here are a few ways you and the family can celebrate Halloween with your pets.
- Give your pet their own “treat”- for dogs, this could be their favorite chew toy, bone, or you can stuff a Kong with a yummy treat for them to munch on. We will talk about some delicious treats for your pet in a bit.
- Dress them up! There are many cute Halloween costumes out there for pets if you think your pet will tolerate something silly. Just make sure to give your pet a break from the outfit on occasion, as it may be warm for them to be wearing something.
- A lot of pet stores and veterinary clinics celebrate pet trick or treating, costume contests, and fun photos. This could be an enjoyable alternative to going door-to-door, and the kids could still get a lot of candy!
Things to be Cautious of While Celebrating Halloween
Black Pets, Beware! Remember the old superstition regarding black cats? Unfortunately, there are some terrible people out there that like to take black cats (and even other types of black animals) during Halloween. If you have a black cat or another type of black pet, it would be safe to keep them inside with you for Halloween. It is unfortunate, but there are sick and twisted people out there!
Holiday Decorations and Mischievous Pets: Keep an eye on your pet around your holiday decorations. Candles and holiday lights can be a burn hazard for curious pets. Puppies and Kittens especially like to play with dangly lights and chew on cords, so make sure your pet doesn’t get too much alone time with the decorations. Glow sticks are also a curiosity for cats, so make sure the kids put the glow sticks away when they are done with them. Dogs sometimes like munching on the pumpkins, which isn’t in itself harmful, but if you have a candle going inside the pumpkin, they could burn themselves. Furthermore, cats love stringy decorations and can sometimes chew and eat them, so just monitor your pets for any curiosity and mischief around your decorations.
Watch those treats!
Pets are curious creatures and love to investigate yummy smells, especially dogs. Be aware of some delicious Halloween treats that could be harmful to your dog:
- Chocolate in all forms, especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous to cats and dogs. Ingesting chocolate can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, elevated heart rates, tremors, seizures, and even collapse and shock. It’s best to keep candy out of reach to pets, and don’t underestimate their ability to jump on the table or counter! My little 18-pound pug found a way to jump on the bookshelf and help himself to the candy one year. If you have kids at home, they sometimes like to hide candy in their rooms, so educate them on how candy can be harmful to the pets.
- Sugar-free candy usually contains an ingredient called xylitol, which is harmful to pets as well. Pets that ingest xylitol could experience low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death.
- Shiny candy wrappers may also attract your pet’s attention, especially cats. They can look or smell enticing to pets and could be eaten. This can be dangerous as it could get stuck in their digestive system and cause a blockage.
- Apples can be harmful to pets if they ingest the apple seeds, so be cautious about this.
- Nuts can be harmful to pets, symptoms range from an upset stomach to seizures depending on what type of nut is eaten.
Safe Halloween Treats for Pets
Here are some safe Halloween treat ideas for your pets:
- Buy a special box of treats for your pup or kitty.
- Make “pup-cakes”! There are some great recipes out there for cupcakes for your pup. Check out this recipe for Pumpkin Peanut Butter Pup-Cakes that I found on Pinterest!
- Get a box of milk bones and some Carob Chips, and make your own “chocolate” dipped dog bones for your pup! Carob is a safe alternative to chocolate for dogs. Just don’t give them a whole box of treats, as they might get an upset tummy.
- Canned pumpkin (Plain, NOT the pumpkin pie filling) is an excellent ingredient for making some yummy dog treats and is safe for dogs.
- Stuff a Kong with some yummy treats to give to your pup.
- Why not get a new toy for your pup or kitty?
Whatever the Excitement, Your Pets Are Up For It!
Whatever plans you have for Halloween, you can count on your pet being up for the fun adventure! With a little planning, even anxious pets can still be included in the holiday fun. Whether it is relaxing at home and greeting trick or treaters, taking the kids out for a fun night, or even skipping it altogether and just staying at home on the couch with a scary movie, your pets will enjoy your attention and TLC you give them this Halloween. Have some fun, and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!