Halloween Can Be Scary for Cats and Dogs!

Happy Howl-o-ween! I’m Super Smiley, blog dog, here with a dog’s perspective on all the Halloween costumes and commotions goin’ on!

I love going out and wearing my Super Smiley costume. So for me, it’s fun. But that being said, here’s the reality of what I see as a dog on Halloween: People ringing my doorbell every minute. People being loud. Groups moving around in the dark, wearing crazy stuff and… looking like I’ve never seen before!

Yep, that’s Halloween from a pet’s perspective. But it can be OK for all of us, because I have some ideas about how you and your pet can relax and even have a good time. And… stay safe!

  1. First, lets start with cats. A spooked cat can hide in the most elusive places for days. So to keep your kitty safe, just keep it really simple. Lock him in a safe room like your bedroom until it’s over. You can turn on the TV to a calm channel to help mask the noise. And it’s highly recommended to keep your cat sequestered indoors a week before Halloween to keep her from being kidnapped – especially if she’s black! Keep her safe!
  2. Now to us dogs. If you are planning to let your dog participate in the festivities, make sure he’s up for it. If your dog’s afraid of crowds or is protective of you or your home it may be best to let him sit this one out in the safe room with the cat.
  3. Is your dog in the fear imprint stage? If your puppy is between eight and 11 weeks old, she’s in the fear imprint stage. This is a built-in survival mechanism that goes back to our ancestors, the wolves. When the wolf pup first emerges from her den at about eight weeks of age, if she’s frightened by something like a bear or a gunshot, this will imprint on her, and she will be afraid of it forever. So, translation: if you take your puppy out on Halloween and she’s frightened by the costumes, crowds and noises, she may be afraid of these for the rest of her life. So, bottom line – only let your dog participate in Halloween if he’s past the fear imprint stage, he’s socialized and confident.
  4. Costumes! Let your dog wear his ahead of time to test out how it moves on him. Be sure they are comfortable and not binding! Let him play fetch and run around in it like a dog! This way he will feel perfectly at ease, and you can really test the fit.
  5. Be sure the costume doesn’t block his vision. Some costumes have cool headpieces or hoodies that can block vision. This might make us dogs fearful which could lead to fear aggression! Not good!
  6. Never leave us outside on Halloween. The extra activity and costumes can be super scary to us, and unfortunately there are increased instances of dogs escaping their yards and of animal cruelty on Halloween. So keep us indoors and safe!

The bottom line for me is to let your dog tell you if he’s up for participating, and if he is, then keep him close to you with one eye on him the whole time.

Good job Super Smiley! It’s Megan here now to share some ideas on how your dog can participate safely.

  1. If your dog is staying home with you giving out candy, keep him on a leash at your side. He will enjoy walking around right with you “helping,” and this way you can keep track of where he is and what he’s getting into!
  2. Beware of the treats! Remember chocolate, raisins and grapes can be deadly. So if your dog is out trick-or-treating with you, keep him on a short leash and don’t let him pick up treats that may have fallen on the ground. A good “leave it” command is great here. These human treats can cause kidney failure, cardiac failure and death in dogs. If your dog is experiencing vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, seizure or any sign of physical distress, get in touch with your veterinarian immediately.
  3. Beware of the decorations! Candles and lights are fun and add to the festive atmosphere, but make sure your pet doesn’t go near open flames and doesn’t have an opportunity to get tangled in or chew on electrical chords.
  4. Just in case your pets do get loose, be sure to have name tags with phone numbers on your cats and dogs, and have them microchipped, so you’ll have the best chance of getting them back!

This top 10 list might sound over protective, but it’s really just some simple guidelines that can easily be put in place to help you and your dog have a happy Howl-O-Ween!!!

Until Next Time,
Woof and Super Smiles from
Super Smiley and Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach®

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