Having a pet is so fun and many of us treat them like part of the family. We talk about them with everyone, we take them everywhere, and we dress them up. Or, at least our kids do. One year we put our Papillion "Pikabo" in a skunk outfit. It looked really cute, however, he really didn't like it. When we pulled back the hood and released his ears he was much more relaxed and happy.
I gathered up a few tips to help everyone, including our pets, have a happy and safe Halloween.
Tips and Tricks to keep your fur babies safe and calm during the Halloween festivities:
· Make sure your pup's hot dog outfit (or any outfit) doesn't obstruct their vision, hearing, or breathing. Comfort is important too. Even if your pet looks comfortable if they are unhappy you might think about nixing the costume or doing something different that your fur baby will like.
· Keep candy out of reach. Particularly chocolate, any food that is different than their regular diet will upset their stomach, but chocolate may cause death. Wrappers can also be a problem so be careful to clean up any candy trash as well.
· Make sure your pest tags and/or microchips have up to date contact info just in case.
· Remember safety. No candles as the pups and kitties can knock these over. And make sure poisonous or sharp items are tucked away.
If you are having a party or leaving the house:
· Pick and prepare the room you will have your pet if you don’t crate them. Try to pick a room that muffles the sound. If you have several pets possibly put them in separate rooms unless they get along well. They can comfort each other if they are friends but if not, they may stress each other being confined together.
· Make the room comfy by putting their bedding in a quiet corner, behind a chair someplace they feel safe. Place something to distract them that they love. A favorite snack a toy, chew toy scratch pad, ball etc.
· Make sure the room had good ventilation but don’t open a window to let the light and sound in. Draw the curtains and shut the windows. Make sure the ventilation system in the house is not covered with the pet bed or toys etc. Make sure the windows are closed so your pet won’t try to escape and hide outside.
· Make sure there is a litter box for cats and a pee pad for dogs just in case. Try to get dogs walked prior to the confinement.
· You can also introduce aroma therapy. Something like lavender or Rescue Remedy or other oil that will relax and calm. Remember to keep it out of the reach of your pets just to be on the safe side.
· Remember pets can read our energy levels too. If we are excited, stressed or worried they will pick up on it and be stressed and worried too. This could raise their stress level more than it would naturally be.
· If you are putting them in a room or crate, put them in early so they don’t feel the stress as you put them up and then leave.
· If you have all the resources they need such as water, food, etc. so they will be comfortable but also make sure there is a pad under the food or make sure it’s placed where it can spill and not make a stain.
· When the party is done, reassure them everything is over, and all is well. Tell them they did a good job etc. Give them treats if they are ok. If they are stressed continue to let them stay in the room till they are comfortable and calm. If they usually go outside and are skittish keep them in.
· If they need to go out, make sure they are on a leash even in your own back yard just to be safe. I had a dog jump the fence and run. You just don’t know if they are scared how they will react.
· Signs of stress in cats include hiding, hissing, running away, soiling the house, refusing to eat, ears lying back, and tail tucked between their legs or example.
· Signs of stress in dogs include cowering, excess barking, running away, soiling the house, being clingy, pacing, shaking, refusing to eat, panting for example
· If stressed, keep your fuzzy friend in the house overnight till they are calm and happy again.
· Don’t forget to check your yard and other areas your pet roams for trash and rubbish. Pick up any harmful items.
· Know that mostly what upsets your pet is the sound, flashing lights, and smells. Be aware of all the commotion and where your pet is.
A Few Don'ts:
· Don’t leave your pet unsupervised while he or she is in costume. They can chew on or pull off capes or hats and hurt themselves in the process.
· Don’t let your critter near lighted jack-o-lanterns or other potentially dangerous decoration.
· Don’t let your black cat/dog outside on Halloween night. They can easily become targets for pranksters.
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