Halloween and Your Pet

Generally I’m a Grinch about holidays but I love Halloween.  It’s like a national holiday in San Francisco without the political or religious overtones. There are parties from the Castro District to the Cow Palace and everywhere in between. And since the city is Giants crazy, we already have an orange and black theme. Trick or treating with my kids means pulling a wagon with a keg to share with all the other parents waiting for their kids running door to door to collect treats. If you’ve never experienced Halloween in San Francisco — I hate to say it — but you’ve never experienced Halloween!

But what about the pets in all these houses and at all these parties? Is Halloween such a great holiday for them? Sadly for many it’s not the thrill it is to me.

I’m not going to discuss the great psychological impact of dressing your dog in some ridiculous outfit that you think is oh so cute and your pet is too embarrassed to let another dog sniff its butt, I’m going to focus on the potential physical ramifications.

  1. The Zombie at the Door
    All night long the front door is opening and closing; kids are screaming with excitement and your pet is scared out of its wits! There’s no reason to risk your pet bolting out the front door every time it’s opened. On Halloween, put your pet in a secure and if possible quiet area of your house before the night starts. Help keep him or her calm as the craziness of the night gets going.
  1. The Boogieman of Too Many Treats
    If you think too many treats are bad for your kid (or you) just think about how bad they are for your pet. From chocolate to raisins to xylitol the risk to pets from ingesting Halloween treats is just too scary. Make sure that you keep the treats in your house away from your pet and that you inspect your front yard for any lost treats from wandering Trick or Treaters.
  1. The Werewolf of Dangerous Decorations
    It goes without saying that decorations are an essential component of a good Halloween celebration! You need hanging decorations, Jack-O-Lanterns, lots of spider webs. All good stuff for you and all sorts of Halloween hazards for your pet! From getting caught up in some up in some of it, to eating it, as cool as decorations are to you is how dangerous they can be to your pet. Keep your decorations high enough off the floor that your dog won’t get caught in them and make sure your cat isn’t attracted to any dangling items or electrical cords draped throughout the house.
  1. The Frankenstein of Free Booze
    Really, what good Halloween party doesn’t have copious amounts of adult beverages on hand? But alcohol is rapidly absorbed by pets and can impact your pet very severely with symptoms ranging from lethargy to respiratory failure. It goes without saying keep the booze away from your pet. It will protect your pet and make sure there’s plenty for you and your guests.
  1. The Vampire in the Dark
    Halloween can bring out the dark side in some people, so keep your cats indoors lest they meet a real vampire in the dark.

Do you have any other tips to add to make for a safe Halloween for pets?
Thanks for reading!