Archives for October 2009

The Dark Side of Howl-o-ween!

Once again Halloween is near.

Most animal lovers and pet owners focus on the fun activities such as boo at the zoo or costuming their pets.

But Halloween has a dark side.

Danger lurks not only outside the home but also inside.

Here are some Halloween pet safety tips:

  • Keep animals confined on Halloween. Seclude them safely in a room away from the door and distractions.
  • Walk pets before dark to avoid any altercations with costumed characters.
  • Vigorous exercise prior to any outings will burn off excess pet energy.
  • House animals indoors (especially black ones) just before and during Halloween. This protects pets from pranksters who tease, injure, steal, or kill animals.
  • Make sure pets are wearing current identification. Many pets get spooked and escape. Unfortunately they end up in shelters without identification.
  • Keep pets away from costumed ghouls and goblins. Halloween bites are not uncommon. Even friendly animals may bite due to stress, fear, or protective aggression.
  • Store and dispense candy so that it is not accessible to pets. Many treats are toxic and even lethal to pets.
  • Avoid the liability that comes from dressing up your pet and sending the critter out trick-or-treating with kids…always have an adult supervise or keep the animal safely at home.
  • Don’t dress up pets unless they love it. If you do dress them up make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. Avoid restriction of movement, vision, hearing or the ability to breathe, vocalize, or eliminate.
  • Costumes should not contain small dangling accessories that could be consumed by the pet or cause choking.
  • Restrict your pet’s access to decorations. Jack o’ lanterns with candles are obvious fire hazards, but cats can also get tangled in streamers. Pets can also become ill from eating holiday decor.

Finally, you might have heard–“Don’t give your dog chocolate it will kill him.”

What do you do if your pet eats the Halloween chocolates?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post and be sure to catch my previous Halloween pet series over at ArkAnimals.Com.

Halloween for Horses & Other Musings

Above: Previous Halloween with Horses costume contest participants–Pokey & Gumby was a flash into the past!
Photo courtesy of Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado.

When I wrote, Blessing of the Animals: A Guide to Prayers & Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures (Sterling Publishing) I covered different pet ceremonies from the time an animal arrives into a home until he or she passes away.

One of the fun sections is dedicated to pet parties–and since Halloween is around the corner I thought I would revisit Howl-o-Ween.

Believe it or not, over 3.7 million dog owners will purchase gifts or costumes for pets specifically for Halloween festivities.

Then there are unique celebrations that include pets and other animals. I was sad to hear that the popular Halloween with Horses, held in Colorado, will not take place in 2009.

Normally the Colorado Horse Park offers a horse costume contest (with a $1,000 prize for best costume), safe trick-or-treat barn, pony and horse rides, the “Stable of Terror,” straw maze, pumpkin patch, face painting, petting zoo, horse entertainment, along with food and a fall fair.

This was one of the few horse events I knew of and I hope they can resume again next year.

If you have never had the delight of hearing about this event before you can still view some of the amazing Halloween with Horses (HWH) in a few different places:

TrendHunter shared some amazing photos of a Halloween Horse by Gillian Higgins who did some anatomy artwork (skeletal and muscular) as her project.

Halloween with Horses 2005 was photographed by John West and you can see (and purchase) some of the photos online.

By far, dog events are the most popular events and if you are in Southern California, the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade in Belmont Shore may just be what you are looking for.

Know about some unusual pet Halloween celebration? Share your info in the comments!