Halloween is a holiday that’s all about fun. Candy. Costumes. Ghosts. Goblins. Jack-O-Lanterns. Scary movies. Among all the major holidays, Halloween is perhaps the one most focused around simply having a good time—for humans, at least.
For your furry friends, however, Halloween is a toss-up! After all, some of the most prototypical Halloween activities, such as wearing costumes and eating candy, can be potentially stressful or dangerous for pets. However, if you follow these 4 easy tips for pet-proofing your haunted holiday, you’ll be on your way to providing a safe and fun HOWL-o-ween for your dog or cat.
Create a “trick-or-treat” candy alternative to traditional candy.
Candy is a centerpiece to most Halloween nights, whether it’s sitting in a decorative bowl or being collected into a giant bag. Unfortunately, almost all commercial candy is a dangerous no-no for your dog or cat—a fact that is likely hard for hungry fur babies to accept. So, if you want to include your pup in the “candy ritual” of the evening, you’ll need to scheme up some trick-or-treat alternatives to satisfy your pooch’s sweet tooth.
Our recreational bones are the perfect substitute for sugar-filled sweets, and our Pup-kin Spice Latte recipe will help you craft something seasonal and special for your pet!
Provide some “games” or “jobs” for them while they stay inside the house.
While it can be tempting to get your pet out and about among the trick or treaters roaming the neighborhood, it might be best to keep a nervous pooch indoors or nearby during the Halloween festivities. Halloween night is full of loud noises, bags of candy, masked faces, and dense crowds of people—all of which might become a stressor for your dog or cat.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t set aside a little “Halloween fun” for your furry friend! There are many Halloween-themed toys or games you can buy for your pet to keep them entertained for the majority of the evening. You can have someone stay behind (or inside) with the pet to keep them company during the nighttime celebrations, and your pooch can be kept busy greeting trick-or-treaters when they pass by your home. In fact, a cute pet can often act as a calming presence for first-year trick-or-treaters who are nervous or frightened!
Pick a costume that isn’t overly restrictive or uncomfortable.
Dressing up your pet for Halloween can be a fun and hilarious experience—imagine yourself as a street vendor and your dog as a hot “dog.” However, if you aren’t careful with your choice in costume, your fur baby might end up suffering some for the sake of their cuteness or spooky-ness. Try to avoid anything that limits your pet’s mobility by restricting their legs, head, or torso. Also, be mindful of choking hazards, as many costumes contain smaller pieces or fabric that can be torn off and swallowed. Lastly, your pet should have some reflective gear or lights on their body, to stay visible to trick-or-treaters and passing cars.
Once your pet is in costume, it’s a good idea to assess their body language. If your pet is stressed or uncomfortable due to their Halloween apparel, they will likely send very clear signals of discomfort, such as persistent whining or fidgeting.
Find a pet-specific event for some spooky fun specially geared towards dogs and cats.
Particularly in larger urban areas, it is increasingly common to find Halloween-themed gatherings expressly designed for bringing along your furry friends. Dog parks will often host “costume parades” in which dogs and cats show off their adorable holiday spirit, or “trick or treat” opportunities where different pet treat vendors provide samples and bags for purchase. Local businesses will sometimes join in on the fun as well with bakeries offering treats to costumed pets for the day and local pet stores orchestrating hauntingly cute events of their own.
Halloween night is a fun night for most any age of human. However, your pet might have a completely different perspective. Just follow these 4 easy tips to make sure everyone—your pooch included—is having a fun and spooky time this Halloween.