As humans, we get caught up in the costumes, the candy, and the pumpkin spiced lattes, but what about pets and Halloween? If you were to get down on all fours and look around on Halloween night from their angle, what would you see?
Pets and Halloween: a dog’s perspective
Cool! They left me a big bowl filled with those great smelling shiny things with a chocolate center. These are tons better than what I get out of the litter box. Not quite as good as what the rabbits leave for me, but I’m not complaining. I can’t wait to dive in—wait a minute, did I get diarrhea last year? I don’t remember, but man, these are good eats. Thanks for thinking of me.
I’m not sure what is happening to my humans. They are very loud, crazy, and they are wearing weird clothes. I can’t see their faces. One is chasing me trying to make me wear a hat. I don’t do hats. I don’t even like my collar. Leave me alone or else!
Our doorbell keeps ringing. The DOORBELL, people! You know I can’t take the doorbell. Wait– why can’t you keep the door closed? In and out, in and out. Can’t you make up your mind? And you yell at me for that! Geesh, what hypocrites.
The doorbell, again?!? I can’t take it anymore. The attacks on my house are relentless. Make it STOP! Just make it stop!
I’m pacing, I’m barking, I’m doing everything I can to get your attention, but nothing–what gives? I just want to go for my evening walk. I really have to pee. Why aren’t you letting me out?
Okay, why is it quiet? They are all gone! Where did they go? I checked the porch and they aren’t there. But, they have those big orange glowing things again! Not sure what they are, but when I accidently knocked one over last year, I got put in my cage. Something about “fire” and then some screaming. How was I to know?
Uh oh, now they are back. What is the deal here, people? I don’t understand all this. Everybody is loud. And stressed. I still have to pee, please let me out. For real, I’m not joking.
Wait–where is the big food dish with the shiny things? I need a snack. Oh, I can look for it later when you are in bed. Now I need a hug. Will someone please pet me?
Pets and Halloween: a cat’s perspective
Wait, what are you doing? I was sleeping, you’re pulling on me—ouch! Where are you taking me? What are you doing? What is on me? I can’t move. What is on my head? I can’t see. For the love of–why. Why?!? Not this again. Is this because of the hairball last week? If you don’t take the shirt and hat off me now, the next hairball goes in your shoes. Stop laughing at me. I’m serious. I’ll eat my entire food dish in 10 seconds and you know what happens after that–barf goes on the couch. Did I mention I’ll drain the water dish, too, so everything is nice and liquidy?
Fun’s over folks, claws are next. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you. Yes, that growling and hissing sound I make? It means something–pay attention here!
Okay, whew, they left. I can’t possibly groom myself fast enough to get their germs off. This is going to take all night. Wait–why is it still so loud? What is that bell sound? Annoying. Yawn. I just want to sleep.
The bell sound again? That needs to stop. Now. UGH, again?!? Fine, I’ll get up and check it out. Hey, why is the door open? I didn’t know they opened the door in all this. Hmm, I could go explore. That’s really tempting. The outside….it calls to me….I could finally get that chipmunk. I know I could. Wait, now it’s loud again. They’re coming. With the hat. Hide!
Here’s what you need to remember for your pet and Halloween:
Halloween can be a great time for humans, but it might not be for your pets. Halloween means changes in routine, new temptations (5 different types of Snickers!), and plenty of strangers. Put all these together and it might be a scary experience for your pet. Here’s what you need to remember:
- Stress, strangers and silliness: if the doorbell bothers your dog or your cat might escape when you open the door, would they be better off in a room upstairs away from the noise? Out of sight might be easier for all parties involved. If your pet is scared, how will they react to you or young children in the home? Even family pets have their limits. Don’t push those boundaries to the point of claws or teeth. Understand how your pet might be feeling on a loud and crazy night. Try to keep their stress level to a minimum. And yours, too, of course.
- Candy and wrappers: Adults and kids need to keep in mind the dangers many Halloween treats pose to our pets. We mainly focus on chocolate, but some sugar substitutes (e.g., Xylitol) and raisins are dangerous as well. Regardless of the treat, all that fat, sugar, (and wrappers!) are not good for your pet. The last thing anyone wants is an after-hours call to the vet because your dog got into the Snickers bag and polished them off, bag included. Don’t forget to check the trash—we all know dogs who go hunting for leftovers!
- Costumes: Okay, admit it, we’ve all probably done it at some point—dressed up our pets. It can be fun and some pets may not mind. But ask yourself, who really enjoys it? Are we laughing at their expense and stressing them in the process? If you do dress up your pet, be sure they can see, breathe, hear and walk (good advice for dressing kids, too!) Are there parts of the costume they could chew off and eat? Don’t leave the costume on your pet for long periods of time and never leave her dressed up if you are not present.
- A few other concerns: Do you light any decorations with candles? Can your pet knock those over? Watch out for this safety hazard. Also, those “glow sticks,” necklaces or bracelets can be easy “chew toys” for your dog. Most likely the sticks are nontoxic, but don’t let your pet chew on them just in case it goes down the hatch. Finally, if your pet is likely to escape or run if he gets outside, is he microchipped? Microchipping is your best bet if you want to be reunited with your lost pet. And reconsider point #1 above–keep everyone upstairs and out of the way for the night. Safely out of sight is peace of mind on Halloween.
- Have fun and offer love: At the end of this crazy night, don’t forget to reward your pet with a little TLC and quiet time alone–without any stress. This is best treat for you and your pet. It’s even better than a Snickers!