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Halloween’s no party for pets
Halloween is less than two weeks away, and before you know it the streets will be filled with ghouls and goblins, Power Rangers, princesses, not to mention the wolves, vampires, zombies, and the like. For many pets, however, this is not all fun and games. If your dog is an old pro at Halloween, and knows it as harmless fun then you can probably stick to your usual routine. But for the young ones who haven't experienced any Halloweens, and for those with any past history of problems on Halloween or problems in a party-type atmosphere, and for those with tendencies toward anxiety/agitation/startling easily, for those with protective/territorial tendencies, for those who don't like visitors or who go nuts whenever someone comes to the door, or for those who like to steal food or can't resist the goodies, or for those who like to bolt out the door whenever the opportunity arises, and for those who happen to be black and of the feline variety... this is an evening that they are best off if they are tired, well-fed and tucked away in a quiet comfortable place in the security of your home. Get them out in the early evening for a nice long walk (dogs, that is), give them a nice warm meal (e.g., their usual food with some beef or chicken broth [hot water and dissolved bouillon cubes/powder] ...provided, of course, that they're not on a medically-restricted diet), and give them a new bone/chew toy in a quiet out of the way room or in their crate in a quiet out of the way room. This last part should be done at the first sightings of any creatures of the night. Don't wait till that door bell chimes for the first time or for the first knock to begin to get your dog settled. Cats can just be tucked away in a closed quiet room with access to a litter box. If you have outside pets, please bring them in. If left outside they become easy targets for taunting and teasing and crueller pranks. While this is a special concern for black cats (which should be kept in for close to a full week before Halloween and probably another half week after), it is really true for all outside dogs and cats. Unfamiliar and unexpected sights and sounds that come forth from the darkness can frighten dogs and cats, not to mention you or me. While we're familiar with the ritualized traditions that have come to be known as Halloween. Many of our pets are not. And they can get spooked just like you and me. When we get spooked as by an unfamiliar/unexpected intruder, just like dogs and cats our bodies respond in part with piloerection. That is, the hair in our skin (e.g., arms, neck, back) stand up straight. The visual effect is obviously far more dramatic in dogs, and especially so in cats, but take note that this puffed-up cat is frightened. It will most likely attack if you continue in your forward (approaching) trend, so it is best to leave animals like this be and move quietly away. Secure all candy safely away from pets (moderate to large amounts of chocolate can be toxic for dogs; some dogs can be sensitive to just small quantities). And be sure to restrict their access to candles, jack-o-lanterns, and the bats you've been hand-raising in your attic just for this very night. Have fun, be safe, and BEWARE!!!