The following is a guest post from Ashley Spade. Ashley, in addition to being Sir Winston Pugsalot the First’s favorite human, is a blogger and law student. She volunteers at her local pug rescue in between studying and training for triathlons (sometimes at the same time).
Halloween rules. And, I think our pets love it as much as we do.
From dressing up, to trick-or-treating, to indulging in special goodies, the last week of October is the perfect time to celebrate before winter sets in.
Step One: Choose a Costume
Sure, costumes can be expensive, but scoring great deals isn’t impossible. Start early and stay positive. Look for sales ads for your local Halloween stores. I know how adorable pet costumes can be; I dress up my pug, Sir Winston Pugsalot every year. But, when choosing a costume for your pet, make sure you keep safety as the first requirement. Your pet should also clearly be comfortable in the costume, or else, you might not want to force one on. If Fluffy isn’t used to wearing sweaters, she probably won’t be comfortable in a bulky costume. In that case, opt for putting a single Halloween trinket on her collar instead.
If Fluffy is used to clothes, however, make sure to choose a costume that doesn’t restrict her movement, ability to hear, meow, bark or breathe. Try putting your costume on the pet a few nights before, just to give a test run. If Fluffy seems to like being dressed up as a flight attendant, go with it.
Step Two: Make Plans… Or Treats
Involve your pet in Halloween plans. Whether you’re hosting a party, going to a party, going trick-or-treating or just staying in, keep in mind that Halloween could potentially be a stressful time for your pet.
If you’re heading out to a party, you might want to hire a sitter to stay home with your pet for the night. The doorbell will likely go off all night, and if your dog goes as nuts as Sir WP whenever the doorbell rings, you’ll want someone to keep your pet calm all night long.
A Halloween Pet Party is also another fun idea. Encourage pets and owners to dress in complementing costumes (monkey and banana, salt and pepper, etc.), and give out prizes for the most creative costume. Sir WP and I did the flight attendant and pilot get-up once. It was an astounding success.
Or, if you’re planning to stay in, consider scouting out treats that your pet can enjoy. Though you love candy, your pet’s tummy doesn’t. Most pet bakeries or pet stores will have special fall and Halloween themed treats for your pet to munch on while you eat your weight in candy corns.
Step Three: Pet-Proof Your House
If you’re setting out decorations, keep in mind that pumpkins and candy can be harmful for pets if consumed. Lights, cords, paper decorations or maize can be dangerous as well and always try to keep smaller chewable items away from pets.
If you’re having friends over, or anticipate many doorbell rings, you might keep your pet in a room, let him roam your backyard if it’s fenced in or keep him close to you. Keep an eye on pets as they tend to dart out the door sometimes when the bell rings or get into trouble as soon as you turn your back.
Step Four: Safety for The Big Night
If you plan to take your pet out with you, make sure he is firmly secured on a leash and stays close to you at all times. Also, when I took Sir WP out last year, I made sure to affix his name and information to his collar and tried to keep his barking to a minimum.
With keeping these few tips and tricks in mind, both you and your pet will have the greatest Halloween ever – until next year at least.