With Howl-oween this weekend, the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is reminding fur-baby families and trick-or-treaters to be mindful of animal safety to ensure everyone has a fun and safe holiday.
For first-time animal caregivers or those who adopted a new furry family member during the pandemic, you may be unsure of how your animal will react to the decorations, costumes, noise and change of routine that comes on Halloween night. The Ontario SPCA has some tips to help you put your best paw forward:
- Prep for the festivities – Before Halloween night, expose your animal to your costume and Halloween décor, especially ones that move and make noise. Remember to have treats handy to make the experience positive for your pet.
- Be costume comfortable – Not all animals enjoy wearing costumes. If you’re thinking about dressing them up, try the costume on before Halloween and always watch for signs your animal is uncomfortable. This could include having their head or tail down or attempting to remove the costume. Ensure costumes aren't too tight or constricting. You should be able to easily slide two fingers underneath the costume.
- Do away with the doorbell – Repeated doorbell ringing can make your animal feel uneasy or protective. If you’re giving out candy, try a motion sensor decoration or sit outside instead of having trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell.
- Create a pet zone – Establish a safe spot in your home where your animal can go when they are stressed and make sure they’re comfortable in the space before Halloween. Fill it with their favourite toys and treats, then send them to their safe space an hour or so before trick or treating starts. This is helpful for cats as well, who may try to dart out the open door when you’re giving out candy.
- Trick-or-treating tips – If you’re taking the kids out trick-or-treating, consider leaving Fido at home where he is comfortable and safe. If you do decide to bring your dog, keep them on a leash and ensure they are wearing reflective gear so they are visible. Remember to give trick-or-treaters lots of space so your dog doesn’t feel threatened by their ghoulish costumes. Be sure to keep furry friends away from potential toxicities that may be in candy bags, such as chocolate and raisins.
“As you’re having fun on Halloween, remember to check in on your furry family members periodically to ensure they appear relaxed and happy,” says Megan Holmes, Animal Behaviour Coordinator with the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society. “Halloween should be a fun event for the whole family, including our pets.”
For more animal care tips, visit ontariospca.ca