First, PEARL’S SPECIAL HALLOWEEN NOTE!!:
This is such a problem that some rescues won’t adopt out their black cats for the entire month of October. So please take extra special care this month if your cats are black! If at all possible, keep them inside, especially on Halloween night.
Now, back to Fluffy and Fido!
FIDO: Hey, Fluffy, what are you so engrossed in?
FLUFFY: I’m looking at pictures of cats and dogs dressed up for Halloween.
FIDO: I hate Halloween. I don’t even feel safe in my own home that night. All those big, scary kids coming to the door, looking so weird!
FLUFFY: I don’t like it much either. Maybe we should get Pearl and Meryl to tell all the Moms and Dads out there how to keep us safe at Halloween.
…And so they did! Enjoy!!
Keep pets INDOORS!
It’s not just black cats that may be subject to cruelty on Halloween. All animals are at risk. Even though many pranks are just that – innocent pranks – they’re not fun for the animals, and they can be downright dangerous. Aside from the direct danger of the prank, a frightened animal may run away. So please do everything you can to keep your pets indoors on Halloween.
Create a safe haven
Now that you’ve got them inside, what are you going to do with them? A good Halloween for you can be a tough night for Fluffy and Fido. The doorbell ringing all night, the children laughing, the horns honking, and all the unusual activity can be really stressful.
And all the opening and closing of the
door offers too many opportunities for them to take off for some peace andquiet. So give them a safe haven before the evening starts. Set up a room (even the bathroom will do) with food, water, litter and a few of their favorite things, and close the door. Then you can enjoy the kids and costumes without worrying about your four-legged friends.
Candles and jack-o-lanterns are pretty to look at, but can be very hazardous pretties when animals are around. All it takes is a careless flick of the tail or a frightened jump to turn an evening of fun and friends into a much more serious event. Keep candles and jack-o-lanterns way out of reach. (And since there’s not much that’s “out of reach” to a jumping cat, do a double check to make sure anything with flames is secured.)
Be careful with Costumes
There’s nothing cuter than a cat or dog in costume, as long as some basic safeguards are in place. Most importantly: never, ever, ever leave your pet alone when he is in costume. He may gnaw at it and eat it, and if long strands are ingested, they can wrap around his intestines and lead to extreme distress and even death. If there’s elastic, you should be able to easily fit two fingers between your animal and the elastic. Elastic that’s too tight can cause discomfort, swelling and decreased circulation.
And finally, it’s just best not to take any animal trick or treating, but if you do, make sure your pet can’t get away from you, whether in costume or not. A frightened pet may run, which is never a good thing. If he’s in costume, he can get tangled up in it, or caught on a bush or fence and unable to get away, or defend himself. Bottom line: leave the fluffy ones home while you trick or treat, but if you absolutely must take them with you, take every precaution necessary to ensure that they are always securely leashed.
Put the candy away
We all know chocolate is toxic for cats and dogs, and don’t forget that xylotol is, too. That’s the artificial sweetener that’s found in a lot of sugar free products such as baked goods, candy, gum and mints. And, really, too much of anything will give a cat or dog the same bellyache we humans get.
So while you’re watching out to make sure your kids don’t eat too much of the sweet stuff, remember to tell them not to share their candy with their animal friends. Then do a pre-bedtime check to make sure that all the candy is stashed safely far away from Fluffy and Fido, too.
Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at www.merylschwarz.com to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.