Rescue Tails / Boo! Afraid or Secure?

Imagine this…. It’s a beautiful spring day in mid-May; the perfect day for a walk. You step out and start down the block. Suddenly, Freddy Kruger is moving toward you. From across the street, a menacing-looking clown with giant red ears and huge teeth is grinning at you. On the corner, a huge green lizard with long claws is leaning against the light post. Your brain can’t make sense of this! Terrified, you run for the security of your house, but strange creatures are everywhere, even in your home. Your world is no longer a safe place!

Now imagine all of this happens, not in May, but in October on Halloween. It’s unlikely your reaction would be confusion and fear but rather enjoyment. Being human, you understand why everyone looks so different on Halloween. Unfortunately, our pets don’t. To many of them, this time of year looks more like the apocalypse than a party opportunity. Recognizing their challenge can prompt us to take steps to help them FEEL safer and BE safer. (FYI, these are two separate things!)

Halloween Tips for Pets:

  • Provide your pet with a comfortable place to retreat from the excitement of Halloween. Ringing doorbells, “trick or treaters”, social get-togethers, etc. can create stress for pets, and even friendly animals can exhibit unexpected behavior. Prevent potential bites and escaping by keeping pets comfortably secured away from the chaos. What is fun for humans may NOT be so much fun for our animals!
  •  Keep candy and their wrappers away from pets. Chocolate is dangerous for dogs and xylitol (a sugar substitute contained in some candy and gum) can be fatal to dogs. Remind children so they will not be tempted to share their goodies with their four-legged friends.
  •  Help children understand that unknown animals and even the family pet may be afraid of them when they look so different in costume. A frightened animal may be more likely to be unpredictable when approached.
  •  We humans love to dress up our pets at Halloween! If you choose to turn your cat or dog into a whiskered witch or a ghoulish goblin, make sure your pet is comfortable wearing the costume, both physically and mentally! While some pets truly appear to enjoy the Halloween scene in costume, many more only endure it because they have no choice. They “tell” us how they feel with their body language. For more information check out these short videos.

         For Cats:

         For Dogs:

  • Some confident, highly social dogs may love going “trick or treating” with the family, but not all dogs do. Many dogs prefer hanging out on the couch at home while the kids enjoy going door-to-door in the neighborhood.

By knowing our pets and their personalities, observing their behavior, and being proactive by making thoughtful decisions, we can help animals and families have a safe and secure Happy Halloween!

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