Tagged: “dogs and halloween”

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween Safety Tips

It’s official, my dogs are more popular than me. They got invited to a Halloween Party and I haven’t been (well, technically, I guess I was invited, too, because they do need a ride to the event but no invitations to a just people party).

Dog costume parties seem to be getting more and more popular. People, it seems, will take any excuse to make their little furry darling even cuter than she/he already is. And dressing your dog as a fairy or witch can be pretty darn cute (or funny).

Just don’t expect your pet to enjoy being turned into a dragon or cowboy unless you already have him used to wearing clothes. Many animals panic when they have something wrapped around them – it feels like they are trapped. And you might think it’s hysterical when your cat is running through the house chased by a dragging cape but believe me, she’s not having any fun.

Get your pet used to wearing a costume a little at a time and have plenty of treats handy to use as rewards. Which means if you’re just starting today, you may be lucky enough to get just one photo snapped before she wiggles out of the outfit. Next year start earlier.

Besides costumes, Halloween has other tricks in store for unsuspecting pets – and pet owners. Be sure all your furry family members are safely inside before the witches and goblins (and superheroes and princesses, etc.) hit the street trick or treating. It’s amazing how reactive even the best dog can be when confronted by a zombie and you don’t want to risk someone being hurt or your pet being scared away.

For that same reason it’s a good idea to lock your pets in a bedroom while the door is being opened frequently. Better to not set off your dog’s guard instincts if he thinks the goblins are too threatening! And you certainly don’t want your cat slipping out the door between the ballerinas and action heroes (of course all your pets are microchipped and wearing ID tags, just in case, right? We do it for free so bring them in this week if they’re not). Don’t trust that your dog will recognize the werewolf as the child next door – he might not. Children don’t always realize how scary even a pretty costume (with capes, twirly skirts, swords and hats) can be to an animal not accustomed to seeing people dressed that way. And masks that prevent good eye contact are especially frightening to dogs. Protect everyone by keeping them separated and not taking chances.

Remember, too, that chocolate has an ingredient that is poisonous for our pets in addition to the sugar and caffeine that’s in other candies. Make sure your stash of goodies – both the bowl that is by your front door to hand out to trick or treaters, and the bags that your children bring home after going door to door – are safely out of reach of furry mouths. Even if your pet doesn’t eat enough to be life threatening, it’s never fun dealing with the vomiting and diarrhea that ingesting candy causes. Just a little precaution and planning can help make this a safe holiday for everyone – full of treats and fun.

Halloween is going to the dogs!

Halloween is going to the dogs!
Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) or is it witches, and goblins and ghosts (oh dear!) – actually you’ll probably see all of them as well as all the superheroes, Disney characters, and other movie characters this Halloween.  And I’m not talking about the children.  I’m talking about the explosion in costumes for our pets!I heard the store Spirit of Halloween that’s only open for a couple months around this time of year has a whole section of costumes for pets.  So does Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.  It’s amazing what you can find if you are looking and there’s nothing out of reach if you are creative and can sew!  Some of the best costumes I’ve seen on the internet, though, are the ones that are done by groomers clipping and coloring the animal’s fur to create other creatures or intricate patterns.  Just Google animal costumes and look at the images!  There is a dog painted to look like a zebra and one that looks just like a giant skunk!  So much creativity!

If you’re wondering how to get your wiggly ball of fur to wear something like that for more than a minute, let alone long enough to get a photograph, the answer is patience and practice.  You can’t wait until October 31 to throw a cape and hat on your dog and expect him to be happy (unless, of course, you’re one of those people who are constantly dressing up your pet).  Start off slowly with one costume piece at a time and lots of treats!  You have a week, so it might still be possible to have your pet appropriately humiliated by the 31st!

For safety sake, make sure the costume will not trip your dog or cover her eyes.  If you’re thinking to have this costumed creature help at the door when the children come by, be sure there is still a way for a leash to clip on.  Don’t want to run the risk of your pet getting out the door.  Speaking of which, some dogs get totally freaked with the scary costumed characters standing on the porch threatening their home.  Unless you are absolutely certain that your dog will not react negatively to the sight of Dracula reaching in for some candy, keep your pet locked securely in a back room.

Also be sure that both the candy you are giving out, and the haul that your kids bring home, are safely stashed out of reach of inquisitive dogs and cats.  Since most parents put away the candy and only dole it out a bit at a time your little one might be tempted to hide a little stash under his bed.  Remind your children that dogs can smell 100 times better than you can and they will find it!  The resulting diarrhea (or worse – chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats) won’t be pretty!

I’m still busy Googling costumes and so blown away by the creativity of some people.  These costumes go far beyond the dachshund dressed as a hot dog between two buns (probably the first costume I ever saw on a dog.)  My dogs sure don’t know how lucky they are that I don’t have a crafty gene in my body!