7 Tips to Help Your Pet Have a Happier Halloween

7 Tips to Help Your Pet Have a Happier Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, RSPCA WA is reminding pet owners to be mindful of their furry friend’s welfare if considering dressing them up.

While many people enjoy including their animal in festivities, it’s important for pet owners to consider what the experience is like for their pet.

Some pets will tolerate wearing a costume, however others will find the experience unpleasant and stressful.

Owners should remove their pet’s costume if they show signs of distress, become entangled or experience any other problem.

Signs of distress include difficulty moving (including freezing), trying to remove the costume or signs of anxiety, such as panting in dogs.

Even pets who may appear calm when wearing a costume need to be supervised closely at all times and should only wear their outfits for short periods.

If people choose to dress up their pet, they should keep the following in mind:  Don’t cover your pet’s nose or mouth, restricting their breathing, eating or drinking

  1. Don’t cover their eyes, obscuring vision

  2. Avoid costumes that are either too tight (causing overheating or distress) or too loose (causing accidents or tripping)

  3. Avoid costumes that prevent them from expressing normal behaviours such as walking, toileting or resting

  4. Avoid costumes that have dangling, sparkling or other attachments that pets can pull off and swallow, risking an obstruction or choking

  5. Don’t enclose your pet’s head

  6. Avoid costumes that contain sharp items such as safety pins that could cause accidental injury

If people are unsure whether their pet tolerates wearing a costume or not, they should play it safe and not dress their pet up. 

Another potential health hazard for pets this Halloween is sweets and chocolate. Chocolate contains Theobromine – an ingredient that can be toxic to dogs and other pets at certain doses. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and seizures.

Some sweets and lollies contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes seizures. Pet owners should never feed their animal sweets or chocolate and should keep “trick or treat” hauls well out of reach.  If your pet has ingested chocolate or sweets, contact your local vet as soon as possible for advice.

Comments attributed to RSPCA WA Executive Manager Community Engagement Maree Daniels:

“RSPCA WA certainly doesn’t want to come across as party poopers, but whilst humans might find it enjoyable, for most animals, being in a costume can be particularly scary or worrying.

“Animals communicate through body language, which involves using their ears, eyes, tails and body position to communicate what they are feeling. 

“Some costumes can impair pet’s ability to communicate with their owners and other animals.

“This could make pets feel anxious and cause owners to miss important signals, as well as potentially leading to aggression between dogs.

“No animals should be put in danger or made to feel uncomfortable for the sake of a laugh or a cute picture.

“We’re asking all pet owners to rethink whether dressing up your pet for Halloween is really necessary and if you do choose to do so, by following these simple steps will make it a much happier Halloween for you and your furry friend.”

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