Originally Published: October 3, 2007 9:40 p.m.
Special to the Courier
A pack of ghosts and goblins at your door can scare your pets, but ghouls are not the only things to beware of on Halloween. Kellyann Conway, director of animal training and behavior at Animal Planet's Petvideo.com Pet Video and a certified, award-winning trainer, offers these tips to make sure everyone has a howlin' good time this Halloween.
First, beware of unsafe holiday decorations. Wires and electrical cords are an invitation to your teething pets or those who just like to chew on whatever is available. Use a cord container to prevent wires from being chewed/gnawed. Also, avoid dangling decorations that your pet may become entangled in.
Carving a pumpkin is fun, but placing a candle inside of it may be hazardous to your pet. Candles are easily knocked over and can burn wagging tails, paws and noses. So, forget the candle and use a glow stick or battery-operated tea light instead.
Keep your bowl of candy up and away from your pets' reach. Most people know that dogs and cats shouldn't have candy, especially chocolate, which is toxic, but even the candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. So, remember, no matter how much your pet begs for a sweet, no sharing. If you think your pet has eaten something he shouldn't have, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Before the trick-or-treaters begin, take your dog on a nice long walk. The exercise will help her relax later. Make sure she's on a leash during her walk in case you encounter any early trick or treaters. Dogs can easily be "spooked" by costumes, especially those with little people in them.
While most pets prefer to go au-naturel, some seem to enjoy dressing-up. If your pet will be in costume for Halloween, make sure it's safe and comfortable. Always avoid masks or any other costume parts that might impair his or her vision, hearing or breathing.
Your pets can be easily overwhelmed by trick or treaters coming and going. Manage your pets by limiting their access to the door. Use a leash or a baby gate or put him in his crate or even in a separate room while the trick or treaters are out and about. Turn on some music to muffle the knocking and doorbell ringing and prepare a yummy chew or catnip toy to help keep him occupied so he knows what a good boy he is.
Finally, keep your pet inside on Halloween. People have been known to tease, injure pets or steal pets and worse on Halloween.
To find other Halloween and animal care tips, visit the Petfinder.com library at http://learn.petfinder.com and www.petvideo.com.