Photo by Monica Click.
The holiday season has been officially kicked off via the first mucid step of last weekend’s zombie walk, despite the fact that Christmas decorations have been in the Dollar Tree since September. As ubiquitous as ugly Christmas sweaters and pumpkin-spice everything are the holiday tips for pets, and the Scratching Post wishes to protect and serve as well. We’ll start with Halloween. If I left anything out, please add it in the comments!
- For the love of Count Orlok, keep the animals indoors. Especially on nights like this, when there are more people on the streets than normal. Cars, confusion, cruel humans—these things and more endanger your pet. Be sure that your pet is microchipped and wearing ID—if, Albus Dumbledore forbid, your pet gets out, there will be a better chance for his or her return.
- Pet costumes are more popular than ever, but not every pet wants to wear one. Respect their dignity, please—particularly cats! If they’re agreeable, however, by all means, dress them as your favorite character or your least favorite politician, but be sure that the costumes are safe and comfy and don’t limit movement. Don’t block their vision with masks and dangly things or decorate them with parts that can be chewed off. It’s a good idea to have brief “modeling” sessions so that your pet can get used to the costume and idea.
- If your pets are anything like some people I know, hordes of children at the door won’t please them. Keep them away from the front door in a nice, quiet space where they won’t be bothered. And if you have a pet that is protective of your property, definitely keep him or her out of sight. All the masks, accoutrements, fake weapons and screams of “Trick or treat!” may make for a Halloween scare that could put Cujo to shame.
- Keep that bowl of candy out of reach of pets, particularly if there’s chocolate or xylitol (used as an artificial sweetener) in it. These can be deadly to dogs and cats, and so can foil and other wrappers. At the end of the evening, give them their own treats. They will have earned them. If you feel that your pet has ingested anything toxic, call your vet or Long Beach Emergency Vet on Pacific Coast Highway and Ximeno, (562) 735-5200; or call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435—immediately.
- Same goes for the decorations. Anything new on the table is catnip to cats and a potential chew toy for dogs, and the things they’re made of can be deadly, particularly the wires and papier-maché. Keep lit candles completely away from cats—the saying about curiosity and killing them can be taken literally. Wet noses aren’t moist enough to extinguish flames.
Wishing you and your bestest friend a happy Halloween!
Thanks to the ASPCA and Meghan Evans of Pet Sitters International for suggestions.
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
(And deliver them beasties to safety!)
~ Scottish prayer, slightly modified