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Pet Care

Pet-Friendly Guide to Halloween

Now that we’re in October, it’s time to break out the pumpkin spice treats and haunted house decorations. We know the spooky celebration is tons of fun with family and friends, but this year, remember to include your pets as well. There are tons of ways that you can celebrate Halloween with your animal(s) and get them excited for the season, too. Let’s get started!

Fun Costumes for You and Your Pet

When you’re searching for the perfect costume this year, consider coordinating with your pet! There are two things to consider when choosing a costume for your pet: comfort and safety.

Try getting a lightweight costume that allows your pet to breathe and move freely. A little goes a long way! Sometimes, a few simple accessories are all you need to transform your pet’s appearance. Since pets can’t tell you how they feel, try to be conscientious of how your pet is behaving in their costume. If they’re stiff, stressed, or whining, check to the see if the costume is properly fitted. Some pets just don’t like costumes and if this is the case, it’s okay to abandon the costume idea, too.

When shopping for costumes, make sure they’re safe by keeping an eye out for the following:

  • Constriction: If the costume is too tight, it may be keeping your pet from functioning properly. If their ability to see or hear properly is impaired from the costume, you may have to make adjustments!
  • Choking hazards: Costumes may come with small attachments like buttons or ribbons can easily be consumed when they’re not supposed to be. This could be a huge problem if your pet has a habit of chewing up random objects. If there are strings or belts, they can also get wrapped around your pet, causing trouble breathing.
  • Sharp objects: Extravagant costumes could have wiring, studs, zippers, etc. that are sharp and dangerous. Blood and gore may be good decorations for Halloween night, but they’re not a cute look for your pets.
  • Excess fabric: If there’s extra fabric on your pet’s costume, like a long skirt or cape, it could cause accidents or tripping that result in unwanted injury. Try to tailor the costume, so it moves with your pet.
  • Flammable materials: Stay on the safe side and check if the materials used for your pet’s costume are flame retardant.

Pets are our partners in crime and they deserve to partake in Halloween, too! Many department stores and pet stores sell costumes for dogs and cats now. You can dress up your cat or dog as a taco, pancake, unicorn, mermaid, and more. Other animals are a little more difficult to find costumes for, but they’re definitely out there. You can even make your own! We’ve seen tons of snakes in hats, rabbits as pokemon, and pirate birds. The options are endless.

Treats That Your Pet Can Indulge In

Halloween always gives us a good excuse to indulge in tasty treats and we think our pets deserve a few goodies, too. Here’s what our animals seem to enjoy:

  • Dogs: You might not want to give your pups pumpkin pie because of the high sugar content, but actual pumpkin puree is packed with fiber and beta-carotene. There are tons of pumpkin dog treats on the market or you can whip up your own. We like combining pumpkin puree with ingredients like apples, bananas, or peanut butter to change things up for our dogs.
  • Cats: Unlike dogs, cats don’t exactly have the same palate as us humans. Luckily, October is still tuna season (June – November) and you can get fresh tuna to reward your cats for good behavior. If you don’t trust yourself to prepare kitty-grade tuna snacks, there are also dried treats that you can buy in-store.
  • Birds: Honey treat sticks are a conglomeration of bird feed and seeds stuck together with honey. Even though it’s a big serving of seeds all at once, there is an element of portion control because it can be difficult to peck the food off the sticky honey. You can leave it inside your bird cage for your pets to leisurely snack away. Check with your veterinarian that all the seeds on the stick are okay to eat before you purchase one. Large seeds like pumpkin and sunflower can be hard for smaller birds to open and enjoy.
  • Small rodents: Rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and gerbils will adore you for treating them to a few carrots. These are a healthy, orange snack that can be eaten in lieu of pumpkin, candy corn, etc. For these creatures, a moderate amount of fresh veggies is usually more appetizing than candy or pastries.
  • Reptiles: Fake spiders and insects make creepy Halloween decorations, but real ones make even better treats for lizards, turtles, and geckos. Unlike their scaly cousins, snakes don’t eat quite as often. In fact, large snakes can eat as little as once a week or a few times a month, so you don’t have to worry about getting them snacks or treats.
  • Horses: While we don’t specialize in horses here at Brookhurst Animal, the experts at Reveal Equestrian in San Juan Capistrano can show you how to enjoy Halloween with your beloved equine friends.

Pet-Friendly Decorations for Your Haunted House

We love setting the mood for spooky season, but we always have safety precautions in mind when we’re arranging our decorations. To pet-proof your haunted house, make sure you’ve got the following on lock:

  • Lights: Going for a Nightmare Before Christmas look? Make sure any lights you plan on stringing up are properly secured and far out of reach from your pets. You also want to protect wires and plugs from being tampered with.
  • Jack o’ lanterns: Carving out pumpkins is a fun activity that you can enjoy with friends, families, and even pets! As long as you keep sharp knives and seeds away from your animals, they make excellent models for unique pumpkin designs. When you’re ready to display your pumpkins, swap the candles for led lights instead. They’re not a fire hazard and they’ll look just as good as regular wax candles. In fact, you might want to replace all your candles with LED lights just to be safe.
  • Monsters: Skeletons, Frankenstein’s, mummies, oh my! Strategically arranged monsters are sure to inspire terror this Halloween, but your animals might not feel the same way. Instead, they’re probably seeing a giant chew toy. To keep your dogs, cats, pigs, etc. from gnawing on your Halloween decorations, bar off the areas where you’re keeping them with pet doors. You can also put unappealing scents, like ammonia or vinegar, on your decorations to ward off curious pets.
  • Cobwebs: Well-placed cobwebs can turn any welcoming home into an eerie, haunted dwelling. Try putting your cobwebs in higher areas, like the tops of bookshelves, televisions, and lights. Not only is this more realistic, it’ll keep your nosy pets from getting tangled in them.
  • Fish tank: Spice up your fish tank to reflect the spooky spirit. Cracked mirrors, jagged rocks, skulls, and faux pumpkins make for a fearsome underwater environment. We encourage fish owners to get creative, but also make sure their decorations aren’t making their water cloudy or dangerous. Stay away from anything that’s too big, sharp, or pointy. Your pet’s comfort is still of utmost priority.
    In general, we advise owners to simply keep decorations away from pets. When shopping for spooky ornaments and accessories, check if there are hazard or flammability warnings, too. We all love a good scare this time of year but not from our pets!

There are tons of ways to adorn your home with Halloween decorations and these are only a few. If you’d like to share what your plans are, leave it in the comments below. We’d love to know about all the fun you and your pet are having this Halloween.

At Brookhurst Animal, we advocate for pet safety no matter where you are, but we know that accidents can still happen. If you find yourself with an animal emergency, please stop by our vet’s office as soon as possible. Dr. Lauren Heit is an experienced veterinarian in Anaheim who has been helping the community for years. Feel free to call in if you have any questions!