by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
I'm sure in an instant you can recall your Halloweens during your childhood. Dressing up in scary costumes, pretty costumes, ugly costumes, funny costumes, cartoon costumes, "trendy" costumes—it's all a part of the Halloween experience when you're a child. You get to go trick or treating and people just give you candy, and if you're smart you can make the candy last you until Thanksgiving. There are Halloween parties to go to, crafts to make, and bedrooms to decorate. Kids everywhere love Halloween; pets, however, are less enthusiastic. If you have a pet, then you should take the necessary precautions to make sure your pet's Halloween is safe, and as calm as possible.
While your kids may see Halloween as a night full of excitement and sugar, your pet sees something very different. The doorbell keeps ringing, the kids (if they're finished trick or treating) run to the door to answer the awaiting trick or treaters, and everyone who comes to the door looks funny, and often, look quite frightening. The pet doesn't know these people who are coming to the door, and Halloween is just a night full of anxiety and uncertainty all around. Even its pet owners (meaning you) may look and act a little different. Everything about Halloween can be understandably disconcerting for pets.
The best thing to do with your pets during Halloween—to ensure its safety and its peace of mind—is to keep it in a quiet, enclosed area. An upstairs bedroom works great for this purpose. The doorbell is harder to hear, the area is relatively spacious, and the pet won't have to see all the unfamiliar faces and costumes that come to the door. Also, if you're having a party, you should put your pet in an out-of-the-way area, to calm its nerves, and so it doesn't bother your guests. And skip the adorable pet costumes. Animals don't usually enjoy dressing up, and some outfits can even be a health hazard to usually enjoy causing them to trip or choke.
It is also a good idea to think carefully about the type of decorations that you are having in the home. That flickering candle in the jack-o'-lantern looks great, but what happens when your pet sticks their paw in it to investigate: Keep pets away from candles, streamers, and other holiday decorations. Their natural instinct to smell, touch, and taste things can lead to injury if you're not careful.
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