It may be cute to see little trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, but to a pet, the parading youngsters in costume can be frightening. Pet owners who plan to dress their pooches in costume and take them out on Halloween night should take steps to ensure everyone's safety.
Karen Lillard Roach, executive director of DoGood for a Dog Friendly Chattanooga, said that though she does dress her dogs in costumes for Halloween events, she takes precautions to make sure they're comfortable and safe.
"We keep our dogs safe and away from the front door [on Halloween night]," Roach said. "Many dogs are lost on Halloween night as they slip out the door during parties and/or when the owners are holding the door open to give out candy. We keep our dogs in our bedroom with the TV or music going to keep them from getting excited when they hear people on the street or at the door. Also, Halloween candy is very dangerous for dogs, so it is a good idea to keep candy out of their reach."
American Pet Products Association provides owners the following tips to keep pets safe and happy this Halloween.
• Keep pets clear of all chocolates and candies. Treat them with natural and healthy bites made just for them.
• When taking pets trick-or-treating, keep them properly restrained at all times. Don't allow pets to walk up to front doors, and keep them at a safe distance from other kids and pets. Make sure pets have collars and identification tags on at all times.
• Keep pets easily visible and safe from passing cars and trick-or-treaters with proper reflectors or glow-in-the-dark accessories.
• Bring along plenty of waste pickup bags while hitting the streets.
• When dressing up your pet this Halloween, be sure the costume is not too tight or constricting. Make sure costumes don't have small and dangling pieces that can present choking hazards.
• Make sure pets don't have the ability to dart out when trick-or-treaters come to the door. Keep them calm and safe in a separate room with plenty of toys and treats of their own to keep them occupied and entertained.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...