Check out this little dragon! Axel, an eight-year-old adoptable Pug is spending the spooky season with his foster family. For adoption information, check out the Funds for Furry Friends website – www.fundsfurfriends.com
Halloween is right around the corner, and if your family includes members of the four-legged variety, they are bound to play a role in the festivities, too.
Most dogs and cats are happy at home handing out treats, but some dogs will venture the streets with their human counterparts.
Whether your family pet is a trick-or-treater or a greeter, there are a few precautions you can take to make this frightening and fun night safe for your pet(s):
If you bring your dog trick-or-treating, it’s best to have someone holding the leash who can stay back from the door. You never know what to expect on Halloween, and the homes you approach may contain pets or people that are not animal friendly. Remember that some houses contain props, motion devices and other frightening fun that our canines may not understand.
Pay attention to your dog’s reaction to costumes and don’t push him. Even a dog that seems very comfortable with most costumes may find something about one particularly frightening. If you notice your dog is afraid or upset about a particular costume, be sure to move away and give him a little extra space.
If your dog wears a costume, make sure that he can see properly and has a full range of movement. Don’t use makeup or hair spray made for people on your pets, as it can make them very sick.
Remember that candy and candy wrappers often litter the streets on Halloween. Some types of candy can cause serious harm and even a toxic response in dogs.
What is even more dangerous than candy itself are the candy wrappers. The plastic, foil or paper packaging discarded on the ground after Halloween smell good to our furry friends — but those wrappers can be quite hazardous to our pets.
If your dog prefers to stay home and lend a paw handing out candy, remember that a ringing doorbell and strange looking guests can be very exciting.
It’s always best to have some sort of barrier that keeps your pet(s) back from the door. This provides safety to both children and pets if a dog becomes frightened by a costume, and prevents an escape through the door as it opens and closes throughout the night.
Be careful to place anything lit up by candles in a safe and secure place — and be sure to check on jack-o’-lanterns regularly. A happy cat curling around a pumpkin can easily tip it over, and a wagging tail can swing like a baseball bat. Both cats and dogs like the taste of pumpkin, and adding a flame increases the wonderful smell that can lead to a curious noise or paws on the table.
Dogs that "help" hand out candy are just as inclined to dip into the treat bowl as the rest of us. Remember that chocolate isn’t the only kind of candy that is hazardous to animals, and keeping those Halloween treats out of reach is safest for your pets.
The constant doorbell ringing and steady stream of guests can leave some pets quite distraught. If your pet(s) are uncomfortable, it might be best to keep him from the front door altogether. Set your pet up in another room, and consider using TV or radio to muffle the sounds coming from those at the door.
Whether your pet is a trick-or-treater or a greeter, it is especially important to keep identification on your pets on Halloween. Whether frightened or excited, animals do manage to escape that night. With kids in scary costumes, yards with eerie decorations and spooky recorded noises, dogs and cats that get loose on this night face obstacles that can be startling.
There are only a few days left before ghosts and ghouls walk our streets, and these are just a few tips to help ensure there are no "big scares" this Halloween.
Stay safe — and have a happy Halloween!
Dana Grove is an animal lover who works with several pet organizations in Brandon.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 25, 2012