October 10, 2018
by LG Nixon
It’s October and my inner goth is threatening to come out! Although at my age, I’m probably
closer to becoming a zombie. Halloween means happy little goblins will soon be going from house to
house, dressed in their costumed finery. It’s great fun for the kids, but Trick-or-Treating with Fido might
not be a good idea. Some pets may be frightened by sugar-high children in masks, or they may become
overly excitable by all the noise and activities. It’s best to let these pets rest at home.
Our fur-babies enjoy a little fun too, just like their human counterparts. So, let’s plan a puppy
COSTUMES: Just google pet costumes and you will find a gaggle of selections for our four-legged
buddies. My favorite is the Einstein wig. If you have a small dog, check out the Ewok costume at
BaxterBoo.com. It’s freaking adorable! Most on-line, and local pet supply stores offer a wide selection of
pet costumes. Exercise caution with all costumes and never leave your pet unattended while they are
dressed in their Howlween attire. Some costumes have small decorations which could become a choking
If your pet is unfamiliar with wearing clothing of any kind, be patient and introduce the item slowly. Use treats to reward any interest in the apparel, then gradually introduce the touch or feel of the item. Once
your pet is accepting of the costume, be sure the item has a proper fit. It should never restrict movement, nor should it be too loose to become a tripping hazard. Check out the articles at vetstreet.com for more suggestions.
If you are feeling artistic, why not create a one-of-a-kind costume with pet-friendly paint? A popular design is the skeleton. You can also use Pumpkin or Halloween stencils to create your design. If you are using a spray paint, cover the dog’s face and nose with a towel to prevent inhalation of the spray. While it may be non-toxic and mostly considered safe, the propellents are still an irritant and can cause respiratory problems. Please use caution. Pet-friendly paint is also available in jars, like Critter Color, and is easy to use. Acclimate your buddy to the sensation of being painted by using a brush, and water instead of paint. This will help familiarize your buddy to the technique before you begin your design.
Ahoy matey! Whar’s the poop deck?
If your feline buddy has an outgoing personality, they may enjoy a little dress-up, too. The same
advise applies to our feline friends. Our cat, Yoda, loved wearing MardiGras beads. The more beads you
would put on him, the more he purred. As always, he was under strict observation while wearing his Mr. T
FOODS AND TREATS: Invite a few of your human friends with their canine companions and provide
fun, doggie safe treats like Pumpkin Cookies! These are fun and easy to bake right in your own oven
using canned pumpkin, flour and peas. You can find this simple recipe at dogster.com. Be sure to check
out some of their other timely articles.
What about a few Zombie eyeballs? Fresh radishes are safe and have few calories. It’s a good
treat and dogs love the crunch. Peel fresh radishes, leaving random streaks of pink to resemble bloodshot
eyes around a red circle, then hollow out a small hole in the circle and insert a kibble. For a touch of the
macabre, freeze an “eyeball” in ice cubes and cool Fido’s water with the floating anomalies. And of
course, carrots and carrot sticks are a nutritious snack anytime, as are cucumbers.
For a longer lasting treat, freeze canned pumpkin, (not pumpkin pie mix) blended with
applesauce. Scoop this mixture into freezer safe pet bowls such as the Zogoflex Topple Bowl and top with
a dog treat. Freeze until firm. The Zogoflex is available at most pet stores, and at chewy.com and many
other on-line retailers. It’s made from rubber and can withstand a happy chewer once the filling is gone.
FOODS AND BEVERAGES TO AVOID: You may be serving your human attendees eyeballs made
with olives. While fresh olives are okay for your canine companion, canned or jarred olives are very high
in sodium and usually contain added flavorings like garlic and onions, and very often spicy additives like
hot pepper flakes. Please do not give your buddy these foods as they can cause stomach upset or worse.
Garlic and onions should never be given to pets.
Alcohol is another substance to avoid. Giving your pet a “taste” of beer or wine is never a good
idea. Hops are extremely toxic to pets. While they may not get enough directly through a taste of beer, the
alcohol is also toxic, and because of the sweetness of some alcoholic drinks, the pet will want to consume
more. Our dogs and cats are smaller in size than we are, and any amount of alcohol directly affects their
central nervous system. Whether your pet is a guest at the party, or the main attraction, they should always
be supervised to avoid any complications. Please check out the articles regarding alcohol risks for your
pets at petmd.com for more information.
If you are providing juices at your event, please be aware these carry some risks as well. The high
sugar content of some juices, and punch recipes, will cause a spike in insulin, stomach upset and GI
issues. Never give your pet grapes or grape juice as these can lead to kidney failure and include vomiting
CANDY: For children, Halloween is all about the candy, but please remember too much sugar is just as
bad for your canine companion as it is for your kids. Candy has high amounts of sugar. Sugar-free candy
now contains Xylitol, which is deadly to pets. The compound in chocolate which makes pets sick is
theobromine. Dark chocolate is particularly high in theobromine, while milk chocolate contains a little
less. Humans can metabolize theobromine, pets cannot.
If your pet ingests a small amount of chocolate, it will probably cause stomach upset and
diarrhea. A larger amount can be life threatening. If you suspect your pet may have ingested chocolate,
please seek medical help immediately.
HALLOWEEN DECOR: Goblins, ghosts and witches falling of their brooms? Who doesn’t get a smile
out of these decorations? There are bony offerings of skeleton dogs, mice, and even birds. These plastic
devices are adorable, but could pose a risk to a chew-happy Fido.
Carved pumpkins, fresh or artificial, are often lit with real candles. Reduce the risk of a fire
hazard by replacing open flame candles with battery-operated LED candles. Select one with a timer, so
once you turn it on at the appointed time, the unit will operate for about five hours, and automatically turn
off, then repeat the cycle each day until you disable it. This is very useful when you are lighting pumpkins
on the doorstep, or throughout your home. Place all decorations at table height or higher to avoid a paw
swipe or an experimental nibble.
Other items of decor may include spider webs with furry bodies, or ghostly apparitions. These are
tempting as they often appear just like a stuffed dog toy. Keep these items out of reach and securely
suspended to avoid a mishap.
If you do opt for a Halloween party at home, unless Fido and Meow-man are acclimated to such
activities and boisterousness, you may want to provide them with a safe, quiet place. If they become
excitable with holiday activities, it’s a better option, and you won’t have to worry about your buddy
becoming an escape artist.
Howl-ween is a fun and highly anticipated event. Now go have a howling good time!