By Phillip Snyder, Executive Director
Published in the Englewood Sun on October 27, 2014
It's Halloween Season, a time when we welcome ghosts, goblins and the haunting holiday itself. What some pet owners do not welcome is the fear of having "scaredy cats" and "spooked dogs."
Many pets are overwhelmed with the very things that make Halloween a treat for people. The noises, smells, trick-or-treaters at the door and on the streets, and people in scary costumes can make a pet want to hide, or even run away. In fact, many of them do just that.
Perhaps you will be escorting trick-or-treaters through the neighborhood, attending a party, or just staying home to dish out the candy. Staying home can make it more difficult for goblins to soap your windows (do they still do that?) or decorate your trees with TP (I know they still do that).
If you are at all concerned that your pet will have the Halloween jitters, here are a few pet-friendly tips that you may want to consider before enjoying the festivities.
Whether you are going out or staying home, tuck your pet away in his/her favorite safe haven room where they will feel safe. Crate training is helpful in these situations.
If you are hosting a party, remember that masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet. Even familiar people can be frightening.
Candy treats are a no-go for pets. Some, including chocolate, gum, and certain sweeteners used in candy are hazardous to their health.
Carved pumpkins with candles can be a danger for curious pets, especially cats and kittens that run the risk of being singed or burned.
If your pet is very social and has no fear of strange-looking people or spooky things, there are also some precautionary measures you may wish to consider.
Most pets are happiest wearing nothing but their birthday fur, but if you must choose a costume for your pet, avoid anything that covers the eyes, ears or that might tangle with your pet's legs.
When opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters and when dishing out the candy, make sure your pet does not dart out the door. Encountering too many strangers can be stressful to the most stable pet. Also be aware that your pet (large dog) may intimidate the youngsters.
Please make sure your pet is wearing proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags, plus a microchip can be a lifesaver.
Let's make the spookiest night of the year a safe one for our pets.