by Darris Cooper, CPDT-KA, FFCP*
(NAPSI)—Earlier sunsets, colorful leaves and cooler temperatures usher in a new fall season full of delicious autumnal flavors, treasured traditions and new celebrations, which can have important implications to consider for beloved pets. Whether you plan to don matching costumes with your pup for a night on the town or snuggle up with your cat at home after handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, Halloween is a great opportunity to bond with furry family members while looking after their overall health and wellness. Follow these tips to help keep pets safe and happy for a spook-free Halloween and festive fall season ahead:
• Make safety a priority: Brushing up on a few behaviors can help pets and pet parents feel more prepared to enjoy the evening’s festivities. Pets can be spooked by masks and costumes, so by preparing pets and their environments ahead of time, pet parents can help ensure safety and build confidence in their pets’ ability to work through the scary sights and sounds that can come with the Halloween season. Keep Halloween treats and decorations such as candy, chocolate and fake cobwebs up and away, as they can all be toxic to dogs. If a pet accidentally ingests toxic food or other materials, contact a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. Also, the doorbell can be a trigger for many pets. To help ease stress, try eliminating access to the doorbell for the evening and use a motion sensor to alert you when trick-or-treaters come to the door. Pet parents can enlist the help of a professional dog trainer in-person and online for training tips. Online trainers can give guidance and practice trial runs with the holiday setup in real-time.
• Prepare for a night in: For pet parents planning to enjoy a night in with their cat, small animal, or reptile or whose pups exhibit fear, anxiety and stress around new people or pets, there are ways to help create a peaceful, yet fun space at home. Some furry friends may be skittish around strangers—especially those in costume—or may struggle with strange noises, large outdoor decorations or sounds; therefore, creating a “safe zone” or calm area within the home environment leading up to and during peak trick-or-treating hours will be key. Frequent knocks on the door and activity on the street could be overwhelming, so help mitigate potential stress with calming solutions such as chews, interactive toys and a cozy bed in a space where the pet can feel safe and secure. All dogs and cats should be microchipped and wear proper identification.
• Light up the night: A few extra precautions are required when out after dark, and Petco’s exclusive premium lifestyle and fashion brand, Reddy, helps keep pets safe and stylish with new night safety gear. Features such as fiber optic lights, LED beacons and reflective trims found in Reddy’s harnesses, leashes, collars and bandanas help pets stay visible well after the sun goes down.
• Find the perfect costume: With more than 440 items total, including more than 150 products under $15, Petco’s Halloween Bootique has everything pets and their families need to get in the holiday spirit. The line offers costumes and accessories for every pet personality at every price point, including stylish dog and cat costumes, bandanas, cozy pajamas and a variety of headpieces. Small animals can also join celebrations with costumes for rabbits, guinea pigs and bearded dragons.
For additional information, guides and recommendations to help you safely celebrate Halloween with pets, visit petco.com/Halloween or a Petco pet care center.
*Darris Cooper is the National Dog Training Manager at Petco. He has worked in the industries of animal training and behavior, pet lifestyle and broadcast journalism, and has been a professional dog trainer for more than 10 years.