The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast
Here at Bark & Boarding, we love Halloween fun, and we like to include our furry family members in the festivities. Here are some ideas for celebrating with your pets, all while keeping them safe.
Take your dog to the pumpkin patch.
What better way to get out with your dog and enjoy the crisp fall air? Even during the busy start of the holiday season, your dog still needs the exercise and stimulation of the summer days. Fido can help you select the perfect pumpkins to carve and decorate. He will probably also be a popular guest; kids and animal lovers will surely make your dog feel extra special during this Halloween outing.
Keep the pumpkins and candy out of reach & choose pet-friendly Halloween treats instead.
Dogs and cats may really like the smell of your freshly-carved jack-o-lantern and its bright orange insides. While pumpkin has numerous health benefits for cats and dogs, we don’t recommend feeding your pets the raw pumpkin you got from the pumpkin patch.
These pumpkins may have bugs, and the raw stringy texture of the flesh may be difficult to swallow and digest. Also, the raw seeds may upset your pet’s stomach. If you think your pet may try to eat your Jack-O-Lantern, be sure to place it out of reach, especially because Jack-O-Lanterns will grow mold and bacteria quickly. However, you can offer your pet cooked fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin for a fun seasonal treat. Just be sure to limit the amount you feed them to a few table spoons.
Candy is very dangerous for animals. Chocolate, raisins and artificial sweeteners in particular are toxic to pets. Be certain your trick-or-treater candy is safely away from your furry friends, whether in the pantry or by the door. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. Don’t worry, your pets don’t have to be left out of the trick-or-treating fun. Here are a few recipes for simple, homemade Halloween dog and cat treats:
- Candy Corn Dog Treats
- Easy Pumpkin Halloween Dog Treats
- No Bake Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Truffles
- Chewy Cat Treats (you can sub pumpkin for the baby food to add a seasonal flare)
- Kitty Delights
Remember to choose only pet-safe costumes for your animals.
Dressing up your pets as furry spooks or fabulous superheroes can be full of fun and laughter. Just be careful to check your pet’s costume for pieces that may be easily chewed off of or that your pet may get tangled in. If the costume distresses your pet or impairs their movement, we recommend just doing a quick photo-op and then allowing your pet the freedom to enjoy the excitement of Halloween night. The ASPCA recommends a festive bandana or collar.
Make a pet-safety plan for Halloween night.
Think ahead to the busy night of ghosts and ghouls. Will the knocking at your front door spook or stress your pets? Consider having some calming treats or sprays on hand. If you plan to open and shut your door throughout the night, you’ll want to keep excitable pets behind a dog gate or in a separate room. You don’t want your Halloween hound leaping up on children or slipping out the open door.
Speaking of escape, be sure to update and attach your dog and cat ID tags before Halloween night. We suggest keeping all pets, especially black cats, inside on Halloween night. However, escapes do happen, and we cannot recommend enough that you have your pets microchipped, in case their collars slip or break off. One of our team members, Miranda, says that last Halloween her dog actually broke out of her window while she was at work, because, “he was so freaked out by the trick-or-treaters.” “Luckily,” she adds, “AWLA picked him up, scanned his chip and called me right away to come get him.”
We hope these tips will bring you fun and peace of mind on Halloween. May you and your pets have a perfect Pumpkin Day. If you need any advice or help, drop by Bark + Boarding where we have the experts and the tools you need.