Pet Halloween Safety

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  As a kid, I loved to dress up, and now that I’m an adult, that hasn’t changed.  My dog, however, is not a fan. He is a mini schnauzer. People tell me that his anti-social behavior is forgiven because of his breed.  I’ve been working with him diligently since we picked him up from the local Humane shelter 7 years ago. He’s better, but he still hates children, costumes (and uniforms), ringing doorbells and too much hype; all the fun things I love about Halloween.

Like most divas, he does like to dress up.  That is fun for us. He loves to wear a smart sweater or fan jersey.  He even sports a bandana from time to time…but because of his disposition, we draw the line at costumes.  

I giggle along with the costumed pets on Facebook videos, but I know Schrute could never handle a full-on costume.  He’d be too restricted and uncomfortable. So I won’t do it.

The Humane Society of the United States agrees that costumes can be problematic for your pet; dog or cat.  Usually, a pet in a costume for a quick picture is tolerated, but to take that pet on a walk, in full display, is too much.

Still not sure if your pet is comfortable?  Look for signs of discomfort like flattened ears, tucked tails and a lot of side eye!

My schnauzer goes ballistic when the doorbell rings.  I’ve cured him of rushing the door, which prevents him from sinking his teeth into the kiddos in costume holding open goodie bags, but I can’t seem to cure him of the barking at them when the bell rings.  Honestly, I don’t know that I really want to cure him of the barking. If he never barks, then when I need him to give warning, he may not.

If you have a similar (or worse) problem, The Humane Society of the United States offers some options to help your dog or cat have a less stressful All Hallows Eve.

First, don’t overlook the crate.  If it’s already a safe haven for them, put them in there during trick-or-treat hours.  Or pick a “safe room” and put them there. Give them a toy that requires concentration and effort; like a Kong filled with treats or peanut butter.

I feel it goes without saying that trying to walk your dog among the bustling, costumed and screeching children is not going to be a relaxing outing for your dog, so leave them at home.  The hype alone will cause them stress.

Finally, this can not be emphasised enough.  Halloween has the potential to poison or even choke your pet.  Decorations, costume accessories, and of course candy; specifically chocolate and xylitol, can put an unsupervised pet into a life-threatening emergency.

It might be a good time to remind you that Pet First Aid and CPR classes will help you prepare for emergencies like Pet Poisoning, Pet Choking and Pet CPR.

Finally, keep the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline handy: 888-426-4435. (The hotline may charge a consultation fee.) If you suspect your pet has eaten something that’s bad for them, call your veterinarian or the Poison Control Center immediately.

Happy Halloween!

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