For the love of your pet: Get your pet ready for Halloween

By John Beck
Oct. 7, 2012 at 5:07 a.m.

With Halloween right around the corner, can you give some tips and tricks for dealing with my pet during this holiday?

Halloween can be a very fun holiday for your pet, or it can make them more anxious than normal. If your dog or cat is seldom affected by a lot of attention or things that are out of the ordinary, they can probably have just as good of time as all the human trick-or-treaters. Halloween provides a perfect time to dress up your dog or cat like the rest of the family. Many households have gotten in the habit of accommodating pets around the holiday season. A lot of pet owners are not only shopping for the kid's costumes but also the cat or dog's costume. Why leave anyone out, especially when stores are making it easier and easier to buy for your pet? Many big-named stores carry costumes for dogs and cats in all different shapes and sizes. They also offer pet treats with Halloween themes that can be handed out to the four legged trick-or-treaters. If nothing else, you can get ready by offering regular dog bones or treats to your visitors.

Keep in mind that you need to practice pet safety even when having fun. The reoccurring door bell can cause some pets to become really antsy. If your pet goes crazy every time the doorbell rings, you might consider putting them in a back room, in the backyard or taking them on a walk or car ride during the peak trick-or-treating times. Some pets are easily spooked by masked humans or oversized/dark-colored costumes. If you choose to leave your pet in the main part of the house or take them trick-or-treating with you; you should definitely keep them on a leash. Even if you have never had a problem before, you need an easy way to control your pet if he or she gets spooked. Also, hordes of children will often find your pet attractive. Your dog or cat may feel overwhelmed with the amount of attention and react in a way that is out of the ordinary.

Make sure you are keeping an eye on your pets and not letting them help themselves to the human treats that are being given out. High amounts of sugar or chocolate can be lethal if ingested by your four-legged friend. Milk chocolate is not as harmful as dark chocolate or baker's chocolate. If your pet steals one or two small pieces of candy, they will probably do just fine. Just watch for any side effects like pacing, panting, vomiting or diarrhea. If any of these signs or symptoms come about or if your pet consumes a greater amount of candy, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out what to do next.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. If you need any other advice or tips about Halloween pet safety, please feel free to contact me or your local veterinarian.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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