Doug / 10-30-2013 / Dangerous

Keep Your Dog Out of Costume and Other Halloween Pet Safety Tips

We don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy Halloween.  Dressing up and giving out, or receiving, candy is a fun tradition and we can’t wait to see how many Harry Potters, Ender Wiggins, and Miley Cyruses show up at our doorstep tomorrow night.  But what about that one house where the dog tries to jump through the screen to say, “Hi,” to the kids as they walk up the porch?

While the crowds on the street are entertaining to you, they can be aggravating to your pet.  What you consider fun and adorable, they likely consider a threat and they may attack without warning.  Whether you’re a pet owner or not, there are some very important safety tips to keep in mind when making the rounds tomorrow night.

  1. Don’t dress up your pet.  Yes, it’s fun, and Fluffy does look adorable as Yoda, but covering a dog or cat in clothing can be dangerous.  Dogs and cats use non-verbal cues when they’re unhappy or if something makes them feel threatened.  By covering their body you’re turning off their ability to warn you that they’re about to do something that could lead to someone’s harm.  So keep them out of costume to ensure you can see what their intentions are.
  2. Walk your dogs early and away from crowded streets.  In most communities kids and parents make their rounds starting at dusk.  Get Fido out of the house early to do his business before the crowds are out.  If he absolutely can’t hold it and there are people at your door, take him out a side or back entrance and away from the groups of excited children.
  3. Lock the dogs and cats away.  It may be difficult to get your dogs into their crate, and with cats, it might as well be impossible.  Still, if you have the option and the ability, you should consider putting your pets away for the evening, or at least until the crowds die down and there isn’t so much stimulus to get them excited.
  4. Avoid the house with the excited dog.  Even if you know Ms. Hooper’s pooch, Jimmy, and you’ve met him a million times, he may not know you on Halloween night.  Your costume and makeup covers not only your face, but it alters your scent and it can confuse Jimmy, making him think you’re a threat to Ms. Hooper.  So if you know there’s a big dog in that next house, consider skipping it.
  5. Don’t take your pet with you.  Even if you’re dressing up as Paris Hilton (which is so 2003) bringing your pet with you on your candy gathering rounds is a bad idea.  Not only could they escape, but in the confusion of any normal block on Halloween night, they’re likely to get scared.  While most pets will run and hide, even the best trained dog may feel threatened enough to attack.  So leave Tinkerbell at home when you’re Trick-or-Treating.

Remember that even the best behaved and most well trained pets are still animals.  Regardless of how safe and happy they are on normal nights, Halloween is not a normal night.  So take the necessary precautions to make sure you are safe when you’re out and about, and that the kids showing up at your door are equally safe.

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.  Orlando Animal Injury Attorneys

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