October 31st
Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a great time to put a festive spin on the things we do all year long with our pets. While our animals may not know what Halloween is, it’s always fun to include them in our traditions. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday with your furry friend, that are not affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Here are five simple ideas to make sure both you and your pet have a great, and most importantly, safe Halloween together.

1. Visit a Pet-Friendly Pumpkin Patch
A pumpkin patch is a great way to get you and your pet outside, enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of autumn, and pick out the perfect pumpkin. There are tons of great pumpkin patches in the KW and Huron Perth area. Make sure you call ahead beforehand to determine whether or not they are pet-friendly. Be sure to keep your pet in mind! If they get nervous around people or other pets, leave them at home. And of course make sure that you and your pet maintain a safe distance from other visitors. 

2. Tricks for Halloween Treats
Halloween is a great time to brush up on your baking skills, and why not include your pet in this treat-making! There are a lot of great resources with animal-friendly recipes. Just remember when baking that there are some ingredients that are harmful for pets – chocolate and sweeteners being the big ones, so avoid those completely. We’ve found a site that suggests some Halloween themed goodies for your cat or dog. Enjoy! https://barkpost.com/life/diy-dog-treats-halloween/

3. Make a DIY Spook-tacular Toy
While there are lots of great pet toys you can buy, why not try your hand at making your own? The best part is that these toys can usually be made with materials you already have at home; old t-shirts, felt, or gloves. Braid and knot together some orange and black fleece strips for your dog, or sew a spooky felt monster for your cat.

4. Safe and Spooky Pet Costumes
Depending on your pet’s personality, there are a lot of great costume ideas for your furry friend. Make sure that it is an outfit that fits comfortably, doesn’t restrict movement, and doesn’t contain any small, edible pieces. Try the costume on your pet before you actually want them to wear it, and make sure to offer lots of treats and praise. Take cues from your pet; if they seem distressed or uncomfortable in any way, remove the costume and go with a fun phone filter instead!

5. Carve a Pumpkin Pet
Have a cute photo of your pet on hand for inspiration, or print out a simple template to draw onto your pumpkin. You don’t have to be a professional artist or carving expert to make this work. As long as you enjoy yourself, you’ll create a pumpkin designed in honour of your pet. Who wouldn’t love that? 

Halloween: Pet Toxins
Autumn is a great time of year to be a pet owner – the beautiful changing leaves make for even nicer walks, cozy evenings curled up on the couch with your furry friend, and Halloween is right around the corner. As pet owners, we want to do everything possible to make sure our companions have the best life imaginable. This means making sure they are well cared for, happy and safe. Halloween is a great holiday, but it also comes with some potential dangers to our pets. Here is a list of potential pet toxins or dangers, and ways to keep our animals healthy and safe at Halloween.

1. Hide Yo’ Treats
Many popular Halloween treats can be toxic to pets if they get a hold (or a paw) of them. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous (and even deadly) to cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies can contain xylitol, a substance that can make animals very ill within minutes. Stash your candy in a place where your animals will not be able to get into them in order to keep them safe. In addition to the contents of Halloween treats, chocolate and candy wrappers that are left lying around can also pose a risk to pets. Make sure you dispose of all wrappers after you are finished with them.

2. Be Careful With Costumes
Pet costumes can be a cute and fun way to celebrate Halloween, but these can also be scary for your animal and cause reactions that just aren’t worth that Instagram filter. You need to be careful that the costume you choose isn’t going to upset or hurt your pet in any way. Some animals may find being in costume stressful, so only have your pet wear a costume if you know it is something they enjoy. When choosing a costume for your animal, make sure that it doesn’t limit their movement, sight, ability to breathe, bark or meow. Make sure that the costume doesn’t have any small, dangly bits that your pet could potentially ingest or get caught on. Have your pet try on the costume the night before you want them to wear it. If they seem distressed or are exhibiting unusual behaviour, consider letting them wear their birthday suit or a fun Halloween bandana instead.

3. Glow Sticks
If you have children in your life, part of their costume may involve glow sticks or glow jewellery. These accessories do look great, but they are also something that pets, especially cats, love to chew on. Glow sticks can leak fairly easily, and while their contents are usually non-life-threatening, they can still cause pain and irritation in the mouths of pets, as well as cause excess drooling and foaming at the mouth. Be careful with glow items, and discard immediately after use.

4. Raisins
Your kids likely prefer candy over raisins, so if they do come home on Halloween with a few boxes of raisins, make sure you put them some place where your animals will not be able to reach them. If your pet ingests raisins (as well as grapes and currants), this can lead to acute kidney failure. We aren’t quite sure exactly what pets will be susceptible to this, or the number of raisins that can cause this scary condition, so don’t risk it – always keep raisins away from your pets. 

by: Kathleen McCaughey, Manager, Community Programs