There’s a reason we call it “howl-o-ween,” and it doesn’t have anything to do with werewolves. Involving pets in the celebration of All Saints' Eve has become big fun and big business, what with pet costumes, pumpkin-flavored pet treats, and even pet Halloween events at shopping centers and shelters. But Halloween can also be a scary time for pets, so check out these tips to ensure that your dog or cat remains calm during the holiday.
Think Through Costume Choices
Costumes for pets, yes or no? That depends on the animal. If your Pug is a ham—and most of them are—go for it. There is nothing cuter than a pet bumblebee, elephant, skeleton or hotdog, to name just a few of the popular costumes available for Max and Matilda. Don’t spring it on him an hour before darkness falls. Try before you buy to make sure the costume fits comfortably and doesn’t restrict your pet’s vision, hearing, breathing, or ability to walk or move. Put it on a few times before Halloween so he gets used to wearing it.
Costumes on you can also pose an issue. No matter how many times she sees me put a mask up to my face, my dog Harper freaks out every time I do it. Maybe it’s the cat face, maybe it’s the feathers on the half mask, but either way she doesn’t like it. Masks can scare pets, so either hide it or do your pet a favor and limit your costume to fancy dress without the fancy fake face.
Handing Out the Sweet Stuff
Take your pet’s personality into account when deciding whether it should help you greet trick-or-treaters. If it is normally suspicious of strangers, you are better off confining it away from the front door, where it won’t be disturbed. Friendly pets who aren’t fazed by kids and welcome one and all to your home will likely enjoy the role of costumed greeter. Just be sure they don’t have the opportunity to slip out the open door and are wearing identification just in case.
Keep candy, especially chocolate, out of pet reach, even if it’s something you don’t think they would like. Some pets have a sweet tooth or are simply willing to swallow anything that might possibly be food. Loads of candy or cupcakes swiped off the counter will likely give them a stomachache or diarrhea. That goes double for chocolate, which contains a substance called theobromine that is toxic to pets. Dogs or cats that eat too much of it can throw up and get diarrhea, or even land at the animal emergency room, bringing an expensive halt to the good times.
Make Black Your Lucky Color
Last but not least, consider doing a Halloween good deed by adopting a black cat or dog. They are often overlooked in shelters. They don’t always photograph well because of their color, and sometimes people think they look either too scary or too ordinary, forgetting that black is chic, sophisticated and always in style. Black pets are often associated with negative connotations—the black dog of depression—or superstitions—black cats bring bad luck. Make Halloween a lucky day for a black dog or cat by giving one a new home.
Check out the 2011 Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade and Pet Adoption Fair on Oct. 30 at Livingston Drive Park off of Second Street in Belmont Shore, which is seeking to officially become the world’s largest Halloween pet event. For more information, check out Howloween.info.