Living With Animals: Oh The Horror!

Kids in costume on sugar highs ringing doorbells demanding candy: What could possibly go wrong? I don’t want to be a total buzzkill but Halloween is not the animals’ favorite day. Most pets thrive knowing the world is predictable; holidays, especially Halloween, shake up that routine, and therein lays the potential problem.

Pets do not get the idea of costumes as light-hearted reference to pop culture. Instead, for the most part, the unfamiliar can be pretty scary. The range of how animals react to scary starts with peeing on the floor and ends with defensively running, either from or directly at what scares them. Kids bitten on this holiday are going to have sour memories. Dogs smacked for how they greeted that kid at the door, cats who dash terrified under the couch, suffer as the result of something they can’t be expected to understand. Suggestions? Consider physically separating your pets from the door and all it invites. In a multi-adult house, maybe one of you joins them in the bedroom, door closed, cheesy horror movie on the tube.

While you might enjoy your dachshund dressed as a hotdog or your cat strapped into a witch’s pointed cap, don’t assume pets are equally inclined to cherish these moments. 54,021 results pop up in an Amazon “pet costume” search, many hysterically funny. Nothing wrong with a little dress-up but that’s something you and your pet need to work on weeks in advance. A selfie with your costumed best friend requires you to introduce the concept slowly, extra cautious of doodads and frills which can be ingested or catch around a leg. Further, that haul of sweets contains chocolates (potentially dangerous), raisins (even a few can lead to kidney failure), plus the foil wrappers which can be swallowed by our overexcited animals. While I enjoy sweet empty calories as much as the next guy, and while 4-year-olds dressed as ghost busters absolutely crack me up, let’s make sure our pets enjoy Halloween too!

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