Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Have a Safe and Happy Howl-o-Ween

I have always loved Halloween. Twenty-one years ago, a week before Halloween, I got my very first dog. I have always taken pet Halloween safety very seriously and made my family follow a special protocol. Here's how:

Outdoor cats should be in by 4pm, locked in a room away from the front door. Have a special meal, treat, or new toy as a reward. My sister's first cat, raw-fed Lucy, used to enjoy a whole quail. Fittingly gruesome for Halloween!

Dogs should also be locked in a room away from the front door before the first trick-or-treaters arrive, in a crate if they're comfortable. Even friendly dogs might be scared by a costume or bolt out the door with a loud noise. A large bone or stuffed Kong makes the time pass. For noise-sensitive dogs, play classical music or download Through a Dog's Ear, and consider using a Thundershirt. For severe anxiety, ask for a prescription medication from your veterinarian.

Fletcher used to love trick-or-treating (in costume!) and wasn't bothered by people in costumes or fireworks. Here, Fletcher (note his cousin Houdini's tail) gets ready to go out. If you do take your dog out, make sure they are securely leashed and actually having a good time. Tonight I'm working late, so my own canine crew will be coming to work with me, and I'll bring along Tiki's Thundershirt. Don't forget to keep chocolate and candy away from your pets! I don't want any phone calls about that tonight. Inducing vomiting isn't fun for anyone.

Everyone should be wearing identification, as shelters intake many loose strays around Halloween or any time there are fireworks. Happy Howl-o-Ween!