It’s October and that means only one thing, it’s nearly Halloween! Find out how you can have fun without scaring your pets.
Halloween’s origins can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain, which was held on November 1. It was believed that on that day, the souls of the dead returned to their homes, so people dressed in costumes and lit bonfires to ward off spirits.
Today Halloween is celebrated across the globe in various degrees but for pets, it can be a hairy time!
So as Halloween approaches, let’s take a moment to think about what it means to our furry friends and by following some simple guidelines, we can all have fun together.
Home SAFE home
Spooky costumes and over-excited youngsters can be frightening to animals and we often see spikes in animal abuse incidents during Halloween so, try to keep your pet inside as much as possible and if they need to go outdoors, make sure your garden is secure.
If you are planning to wear masks and costumes indoors, just be aware that this can change the way we smell which can be unsettling to animals.
Costume FUN or fear
Animals are not used to wearing clothing, they may feel hot and uncomfortable, and the material can irritate their skin leaving them stressed.
That said, if you are planning to dress up your pet this Halloween, please consider the following:
- Think about your pet’s personality and what type of costume they may tolerate
- Avoid masks and hats that fit around the face for long periods
- Make sure the costume is comfortable and your pet can move freely
- Remove any chewable parts or objects that could come off and choke your pet
- Don’t leave costumes on for long periods of time
Give your pets positive things to think about and they will relax. Play games – hide and seek with their treats always works well.”
Calming music can help and if your pet is particularly anxious, there are plenty of calming products on the market, for example, FELIWAY diffusers, refills, and sprays.
Cats and small furry animals love having new places to hide. Not only does it reassure them, but it is also a great form of enrichment. Try placing a tunnel or cardboard box in a good vantage point and they will love it.
A dog’s instinct is to protect its home or to alert you that a stranger has arrived so continuous knocking on the door can cause them a great deal of stress.
If your pet gets worked up when the doorbell rings, it may be better to put them in a room further away. Stay calm when opening the door to trick-or-treaters in case your pet tries to run outside and make sure they are tagged and your microchip details are up to date, just in case.
Trick or TREAT
Chocolates and sweets, gum and xylitol (a sweetener used in many foods) can be toxic to pets so hide them away and watch out for children sharing their treats.
Pumpkin can be good for dogs and cats, but too much can cause digestive issues and rotting pumpkins may contain bad bacteria.
If you suspect your dog has eaten something harmful, call the Animal Poison Line on 01202 509000.
Time to PARTY
If you are planning to host a Halloween party at your home and there is no one else that can look after your pet for you, follow Jenny’s tips:
- Keep your pet safe in a confined room
- Be mindful of guests carelessly letting your animals outside
- Never leave your animal unattended with a lit candle even when it is inside a pumpkin, they still cause fire or burns.
Whether you are staying at home or venturing out please keep in mind that there is a greater risk of accidents at Halloween time, so check your insurance is up to date, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any concerns about Halloween, get in touch.