Trick or Treat! Halloween, 31st of October, although not nearly as big in SA as it is in USA, is a good excuse for South African families to celebrate.
It may be huge fun for you and the kids, when everyone loves to dress up, but just remember it may not be as much fun for your 4 legged fur-children.
Here are some tips on how to give your pets a haven where they can feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed - tucked away from any Halloween hazards.
Trick or treat sweets are for the kids, not your fur-kids
Sweets and chocolates should never be consumed by our 4 legged family members.
All forms of chocolate can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Halloween sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Be sure to keep your stash of candy well out of reach of any curious pets.
Read more on what other foods are dangerous to your pets
Keep your pets safely inside
As there’ll be a lot of commotion around your front door or gate, it’s better to lock your animals away before the evening fun gets going. With the bell ringing or the door knocking every few minutes with trick or treater’s, or party guests arriving, this can cause major stress and unease in your pet. Not only will they be less anxious locked away, it’s also much safer should a gate or door be left open by mistake.
Strangers will be dressed in scary costumes and masks and there’ll be an excess of energy in the air, all contributing to anxiety in your dog or cat.
Territorial dogs may feel threatened so it’s best to keep them safe and in a quiet place. Pop them in a room they are familiar with (one that they can’t escape from) away from the hustle and bustle of the night, with some food, water and a comfy place to relax.
Products to help calm anxious dogs and cats
For pets that are very afraid of things that go boo in the night – we have 2 great products to help calm scaredy-cat (or dog)
Feliway for cats, contains a synthetic copy of the happy pheromone that cats release naturally, making them feel calm and content in stressful situations.
Adaptil for dogs, a replication of that soothing pheromone mother dogs emit to comfort their puppies, to help you comfort your adult dog.
Calmeze for dogs and cats, available in a tablet and gel form, helps soothe and calm nervous or hyperactive pets.
Thundershirts for dogs & cats are a great, medication free option to try. They apply gentle, constant pressure (similar to swaddling human babies) that soothes and comforts nervous pets.
Earth Pets Aromatherapy Oil for dogs, made from natural ingredients, this unique formulation of special oils helps to relax and calm your hyperactive or hypersensitive dog
Earth Pets Aromatherapy Oil for cats keeps your cat cool, calm and collected when they are distressed & anxious
All these products can be used on nights like Halloween, Guy Fawkes, New Year and thunderstorms, as well as long term for pets who are generally nervous.
To ease more extreme cases of anxiety, you may need to contact your vet for something a little stronger.
Keep decorations out of reach
Decorations are essential! From fake spider webs to zombies to pumpkins, what is a Halloween without any of these? Just make sure when decorating your home that any electrics are out of reach of curious mouths as well as decorations that look good enough to eat! Any foreign bodies that your dog consumes could cause big gastrointestinal upsets, costing you a lot of money and your pet a lot of pain. A great rule to have in place in your home all the time, not just at Halloween.
NB – Pet Identification
One can never be too sure that their pet won’t escape – I suggest that cats and dogs wear a collar and tag at all times. Whether they never leave the property or not, it takes just one person to leave a door or window open and you could have a problem on your hands.
On a night such as Halloween when the streets are busy with scary trick and treaters, your pet may become nervous and try to escape into the night.
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned.
Microchipping your pet at the vet is by far the most effective and reliable way to identify your pet, as it can’t fall off. Having a collar and tag on too will amke sure that anyone who finds fluffy can see your details and contact you immediately. Just make sure your information is up to date.
Dog & Cat friendly treats
Should you not want your 4 legged family members to miss out on the excitement of Halloween completely – why not treat them to some yummy pet friendly treats from the extensive range of dog and cat treats we have online.
As Halloween falls in the peak of our spring, why not try your hand at these refreshingly tasty frozen treats for dogs?
Peanut Butter + Jam Freezies
It’s like the traditional American Peanut Butter and Jelly, only better.
Blend strawberries with a splash of water, pour into an ice tray, freeze, and before serving spread with peanut butter - a guaranteed canine crowd pleaser.
NB – check that the peanut butter that you use does not contain xylitol.
The best advice that we can offer here is, unless you are completely sure that your dog enjoys wearing clothing, don’t do it. Dogs that are used to wearing jerseys in winter, or fashionable t-shirts in summer, will be more relaxed in a costume but again unless you are 100% sure, don’t stress your dog out unnecessarily. It may be cute and funny for you, but anything but for your dog!
If you do decide to dress your dog up, make sure the costume fits correctly, is comfortable and has no loose buttons or threads that could be swallowed. It mustn’t constrict movement, hearing, or hamper your dog’s breathing or barking.
As for cats... I wouldn’t even go there!
Halloween costume inspiration for pets
As mentioned earlier don’t stress your pooch out if you know he or she doesn’t like to wear clothing, let alone a Halloween costume that everyone will be laughing and oohing and aahing over!
In the USA, an estimated 20 million pet owners will dress up their pets - as Halloween isn’t as hugely celebrated here, homemade costumes for your dog may be the way to go!
Here are some cool ideas I found on Pintrest