Halloween brings one of my favorite things: Pets in costumes. When I see a cat dressed as a shark or a dog in a wig, I can't resist them! I always wonder, though — is Halloween as much fun for pets as it is for people? It turns out, the answer is often a resounding no.
The same spooky activities we love can be scary, or even dangerous, for pets.
Here are a four important ways to make Halloween safe and
enjoyable for your dog, cat or other pets:
1. Consider your pet's feelings when choosing a Halloween costume.
My dog is used to wearing sweaters and jackets in bad weather, so he's fine with a costume as long as it doesn't cover his head. Other pets may need time to adjust to dressing up, or may only tolerate a costume for a few minutes — just long enough to take a picture. If you do put your pet in a costume, be sure it doesn't restrict his or her ability to breathe, see, or move around. Also, make sure your pet's identification tag is visible, in case anything goes wrong.
Also on Z Living: 15 Of The Cleverest & Cutest Pet Halloween Costumes
2. On Halloween night, keep your pet safe at home.
It may be tempting to take your pet out trick-or-treating with your family, but he or she will probably be safer and happier at home. Even familiar people may be unrecognizable to a pet if they're wearing masks or disguises. If you’re expecting a lot of trick-or-treaters or you're hosting a Halloween party, keep your pets in a quiet room away from the excitement. That way, they won't stress out every time you answer the door.
Also on Z Living: 15 Healthy Alternatives To Handing Out Halloween Candy
3. Keep Halloween treats meant for humans out of your pet's reach.
Many foods meant for people are toxic to pets
, so be sure to keep any party snacks or Halloween candy in a place where pets can't get to them. This is especially important with chocolate, raisins, and any candy that contains the sweetener xylitol. (Keep empty candy wrappers out of reach, too, as pets may try to eat them!)
Also on Z Living: Get Your Home Ready for Trick-or-Treaters This Halloween
4. Make sure your Halloween decor is pet-friendly.
Be especially careful with lit candles and jack-o-lanterns. A curious pet could get burned, or knock them over and start a fire. (Battery-powered tea lights are a safer option.) Fake cobwebs may add to the creepy atmosphere, but they can also entangle pets or cause a choking hazard.
Make sure the only scares your family faces this Halloween involve masks and make-believe. Keep your pets safe, healthy, and stress-free, because they deserve to celebrate, too.
WATCH on Z Living: Finding Fido,
where photographer and animal behaviorist Seth Casteel
hosts plays matchmaker each week between a person and a pooch. Finding Fido
will premiere on Z Living in January 2017.
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