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How To Keep Your Pet Healthy and Safe this Halloween


According to the National Retail Federation, this Halloween Americans will spend $2 billion on adult costumes, nearly $1 billion on children’s costumes, and $350 million on costumes for their furry friends. It’s estimated that 68 million Americans will dress up this Halloween and another 20 million pet owners will dress up their pets.

When it comes to pet costumes, the Federation says the five most popular are:

  • Pumpkin
  • Hot dog (especially popular among dachshunds)
  • BumblebeePet expert Steve Dale writes about Halloween pet safety
  • (tie) Lion/Star Wars characters (various)
  • Devil

If you’re looking to be trendy, however, and you have a pet with lots of hair on his head, comb the hair over to one side and poof it up a bit. The Donald Trump dog or cat will surely be a hit this Halloween.

Pet expert Steve Dale writes about Halloween pet safety“Still, you do need a neck tie to complete the look,” says pet stylist Alice Lerman of Barker and Meowsky.

Lerman, AKA Mrs. Meowsky, says one of her trendiest choices is Sir Wags A Lot, a loosely fitting knight sweater for dogs who are fans of TV’s Game of Thrones.

Another popular idea is a sport uniform or jersey representing the team of your pet’s choice.

Interestingly, the internet has apparently spread the Halloween spirit to countries who don’t even celebrate. Meowsky says her most popular item is a pair of bat wings, which she’s shipped all over the world, including Australia, Canada, England, and Ireland.Pet expert Steve Dale writes about Halloween pet safety

“What’s most important is that the pet is comfortable in whatever costume you choose,” Meowsky adds.

Dr. Heather Loenser, American Animal Hospital Association staff veterinary advisor public and professional relations, agrees. “Some pets love all the fun of Halloween and for some pets all that activity is just too much to handle.”

Pet expert Steve Dale writes about Halloween pet safetyTo keep your furry friend safe and happy this Halloween, Loenser offers a few tips:

  • For pets who get nervous about the constant buzzing of the doorbell and knocks at the door by strange looking humans, it’s best they are taken to a secluded room.
  • Plug in a pheromone diffuser (Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs) to lower stress.
  • Turn on calming music, such as Through A Dog’s Ear or Victoria Stilwell’s Positively Calming. Or, you can just play Bach or Mozart.
  • Offer an alternative behavior by giving your pet a puzzle toy or treat-dispensing toy, or stuff low-fat peanut butter inside a chewable toy.
  • If your pet is exceedingly over-the-top panicky, you may consider boarding, or contacting your veterinarian for appropriate anti-anxiety medication.
  • Be sure your pet is microchipped and that your contact information with the microchip manufacturer is up to date. Because the door is open and closed so often, many pets are lost at Halloween.
  • Keep pets away from chocolate, the artificial sweetener Xylitol, and adult “candy” (legal cannabis laced in brownies or cookies).
  • Use electric or battery operated candles instead of the real thing. Candles can be knocked over by pets and can cause toxic fumes to pet birds.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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