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Halloween Pets

Halloween has become second only to Christmas in the retail world. It is expected that 710 million dollars will be spent on pet costumes this Halloween. Over seventy-six percent (76%) of pet owners dress their pet in a costume for Halloween. In fact, almost one-third of pets (30%) will dress up in more than one costume this Halloween season. The percentage of pet owners who choose to let their furry family members participate in the holiday has gone up each of the past few years, according to the National Retail Federation. It is expected that the most popular pet costumes this year will be: 

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Hot dog
  3. Bat
  4. Bumblebee
  5. Witch

My family falls into the majority category, so both Panzer and Jetta will be dressing up this year. Choosing a costume for the family pet can be fun for the entire family, especially the kids! My boys chose a chameleon costume for Panzer and a crab costume for Jetta. While the costumes may not be their favorite, the dogs will certainly enjoy the extra attention from their favorite human kids.   

If you also plan to put a Halloween costume on your pet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you set aside time before the “big night” to let your pet get accustomed to its costume. Be sure that the costume fits properly. This includes checking that your pet can see, hear, and breathe in the costume and that it cannot chew or possibly choke on any part of the costume. It is also recommended that pets in costume be supervised at all times. 

While certainly it's understandable that people want to include their pets in the fun of Halloween, it's important to remember to remember that not all pets enjoy the holiday. If the doorbell or seeing people at the door causes your pet anxiety, it might be best to follow these tips, provided courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It might be best for your pet to have a safe place—either a room away from the front door, or a crate—so they can hide away from all of the excitement. The same is true for animals that become aggressive when someone is at the front door.  

Don't share your Halloween candy with your pet! Many of the treats that humans enjoy on Halloween are not safe for your pet. While most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, did you know that raisins can cause kidney failure in pets? It is always best to get your pet a special pet safe treat in advance so that you aren't spending Halloween at the emergency veterinarian's office.

Keep Halloween decorations and human costumes away from your pets. Be especially careful with jack-o-lanterns and candles because an excited pet can easily knock these over.

If your pet loves the excitement of Halloween and is going trick or treating with you and the kids, make sure its collar, costume, and/or vest is brightly colored so that it can be seen by motorists. It is always a good idea to have identification on your pet's collar, especially if your pet is not microchipped.  

Pets can also get scared by the many people coming to your home. Make sure that your pet doesn't run out the door while you are filling bags of candy for little ghouls and goblins. This is another reason that it might be good to let your pet relax in a bedroom or his crate with a favorite bone instead of hanging out in the living room with you all evening.      

Finally, make sure to keep your pet indoors with you on Halloween night. Certain animals, especially black cats, might find themselves injured due to their reputation as the witch's familiar. Whether it is an urban legend or not, it is best to keep your black pets—all of your pets—inside on Halloween night. Even the most friendly pet may find itself the victim of a Halloween prank gone wrong.  


First published in Beatrice Daily Sun:

  • Beatrice Himane Society
    Beatrice Himane Society
  • Oakview Veterinary Clinic
    Oakview Veterinary Clinic
  • Shelter Animals Count Participant
  • 24PetWatch

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