Who doesn’t love Halloween? Little kids dressed up as their favorite character, lots of chocolate and Fall fun for the entire family – including our pets! From pet costumes to themed treats for pets, Halloween is a fun time for all – but it is also a time to provide protection and urge caution where our pets are concerned.
First, let’s talk pet costumes. Yes, they can be adorable. If your dog has been acclimated to wearing sweaters he’ll likely readily adapt to wearing a costume – as long as it doesn’t interrupt his vision or hearing. Not all pets appreciate costumes – so understand that if he doesn’t like it – don’t force the issue.
Are Pet Costumes required to be flammability tested to CFR 1610? NO they are not.
Center for Pet Safety feels it is also important to note that pet Halloween costumes do not have to undergo flammability testing required by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)1610. Pet products are not considered “consumer products” and therefore manufacturers don’t have to abide by the federal regulations required for human costumes. As a general rule it is wise to keep pets away from flames, fire pits, sparklers…and any other holiday item that can spark a fire.
Good Housekeeping provided guidance on selecting costumes for children and we recommend pet owners heed their advice when selecting costumes for your pets.
This time of year Halloween Candy seems to be everywhere and is very tempting – not only to us, but also to our pets. Chocolate can prove to be a toxic substance for pets – especially when consumed in volume. Chewing gum, metallic and plastic wrappers are also a hazard as they can clump up and block our pet’s digestive system. Sugar-free candies containing Xylitol are extremely toxic to our pets. The lesson here is to be cautious with candy – make sure not to leave it in an accessible spot – your pet might not be able to resist the temptation. Store candy out of reach in a cabinet or sealed container.
Ringing doorbells and costumed children can also stress our pets. If your dog barks at the doorbell you will want to confine him on Halloween night. This will help to keep your dog safe and you can rest easy knowing that he won’t run out the front door or frighten neighborhood children. Use a crate to confine them in a quite room with a distraction like a radio or television. The familiar noises will make them feel like this is a day like any other. For those pets that are full of anxiety, you can partially cover the crate to create more of a den. Soft lighting helps calm them as well. Reassure your pet with a calm, soothing voice. As a responsible pet owner, you must also know that if something causes that level of anxiety in your dog, you may want to forego the events altogether. There is nothing wrong with turning out the lights and deciding not to participate in Halloween.
Protect Your Pets, Especially Black Cats
When you take the dog out – go out with him. We all know that there are people out there who do not value our pets as much as we do. It is common to hear stories of pets being abused, poisoned, kidnapped and even killed during Halloween. Black cats are especially at risk. Don’t let strangers give your pet treats on Halloween night – unless you brought the treats yourself. Go out with your pet, spend quality time, and if you don’t have a fenced backyard, keep your dog on a leash. Keep a close watch and remember, better safe than sorry.
Halloween is meant to be a fun enjoyable experience and there is no reason that your pet can’t join in the festivities. A little pre-planning and common sense will make Halloween an enjoyable night for the entire family!