Who can resist the idea of dressing your pet up for Halloween? Yeah it’s silly and some might say it’s a little cruel, but it’s so dang cute! But before you do, check out these tips from the ASPCA:
• Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress.
• If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe or bark. Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on.
• Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not obstruct her vision in any way. Even the sweetest animals can get snappy when they can’t see.
For ideas or just for fun, check out these Care2 pets in costume.
We also have a great story about protecting your pets on Halloween that has some very smart, and some surprising, advice. (Who knew that black cats require special treatment in late October?)
To add to this is some general pet safety tips from the ASPCA. If only I had read the second one before yesterday when my kids and I made jack-o-lanterns outside, with Louis the yellow lab at our feet, dutifully snatching small bits of pumpkin as we carved. Sorry, Louis.
• That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
• Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively non-toxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are ingested.
• Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
• A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
• All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
• When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.