By Steve Dale
The door knocks. You walk slowly to the door because on the other side, you hear a strange whining sound. Slowly, you open – and what a sight – horror of all horrors, it’s a devil dog. Or should I say, a dog dressed as a devil. Or perhaps it's a dog with a Lady Gaga-like wig. Increasingly, pets are trick or treating.
Americans shell out about $4 million on Halloween decorations, treats and costumes for pets. For the latest on pet costumes, tips and for the hottest costumes - check out what Miss Meowsky of Barker & Meowsky: A Paw firm has to say.
Unfortunately, the pets aren’t consulted about Halloween. Just take out the costume, and many cats are under a bed or run off in the other direction. To dress up a cat for a quick photo isn’t too bad if he’s willing to get into the costume without too much of a struggle. You can reward kitty for his patience with a few special treats. As for canines, some look totally humiliated wearing costume – and that’s likely because they are. However, other dogs seem to relish the attention, enjoying being fussed over.
Here are tips on keeping your pets safe on Halloween:
- Aromas from lit candles can respiratory distress and even death in pet birds.
- Cats jumping on tables might knock over a lit candle and cause a house fire.
- Goodie Bags: While a stash of candy isn’t the best thing for kids, some of what’s in those Halloween bags may be very hazardous to pets. Even ingesting only a little bit of an artificial sweetener called Xylitol (mostly used in sugarless gum) is dangerous. That seemingly innocuous box of raisins may be a healthy treat for children, but raisins are also hazardous to dogs. Dogs who enjoy candy don’t usually stop munching after a few pieces, and too much candy and their wrappers – which may be scarfed down too - can cause an upset tummy. If there’s chocolate involved, the outcome may be worse since chocolate is toxic (particularly dark chocolate). Keep the candy in a secure place, away from Fido – even if that means opening a safety deposit box at a nearby bank.
- Buy Pet Friendly Decorations: Last year, a reader wrote about a mummy guy costume who a cat unraveled and swallowed. The cat was rushed into emergency surgery for an obstruction. Luckily he survived, but that was sure was one expensive Halloween decoration.
- It’s Too Scary Outside: While cats should generally be indoors anyway, for sure, on Halloween. It may be only a urban myth that people can harm cats around Halloween, especially black cats. But don't test it out.
- Dogs and cats are in danger of bolting around Halloween as that front door is constantly opening and closing - many pets get lost; it's best to prevent that from happening in the first place. However, the best thing you can do is to microchip your pet in case the pet does get out. And be sure to register your name and contact info with the microchip provider.