Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Halloween Pet Costumes?

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Halloween is coming, my very favorite holiday, and I am so excited. I plan to dress up as a witch and then my dog Skip and my cat Sadie as little devils (which they are) and have them with me when I greet trick or treaters. Isn’t that a great idea?


Dear Drew,

Whoa!!! Halloween can be a lot of fun for humans, but not necessarily for pets. So let’s think this through.

You plan to put on a strange costume and possibly a mask that your pets have never seen before. Then you will put them in some sort of strange costume that they will have no idea why you are doing that. Then you will let the door bell ring and confront them with maybe dozens of small strangers who will be squealing and yelling and also wearing masks and carrying things like fake swords or bloody stumps or whatever. And everybody will be laughing hysterically, except of course for Skip and Sadie, who a will be completely mystified and probably terrified.

Here’s a better plan. Leave Skip and Sadie alone. Put them in a quiet room with some nice comfy pillows and some treats and shut the door. After every thing has quieted down, open the door and take Skip for a walk. Your can wear your costume if you want,

We don’t mean to be grouchy, but, like may holidays, there are precautions that you should follow to make sure that every member of your family—including Skip and Sadie—has a safe Halloween.

Keep your pet in a quiet place, away from trick-or-treaters. You may know that the tiny monsters who come knocking on Halloween aren’t real, but pets don’t. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and could easily become frightened or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of costumed visitors. Not only that, but frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape by a jittery pet. So also be sure your pets are wearing collars and ID tags in case of an accidental getaway.

Keep live flame decorations like candles and jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach. Curious critters risk being singed or burned by the flame—they could also easily knock over a candle or pumpkin and cause a fire. Keep decorations that pets could chew on, like streamers and fake spider webs, and wires and cords from electric decorations out of reach.

Keep candy away from pets. All those sweets may taste great, but candy, especially chocolate, can be toxic to pets. Candy wrappers can also be harmful if swallowed. Instead, tempt your pets with a few of his or her favorite treats.

And try to resist the urge to put your pet in a costume. Sure, your pet looks adorable dressed as a devil, or a princess, but most pets don’t like costumes any more than they like sweaters or jackets. If you do decide to play dress-up, make sure the costume is safe for your pet and doesn’t constrain movement, hearing or ability to breathe. Check the costume for parts your pet could chew off and choke on or get tangled up in.

And finally, don’t let the family dog accompany the kids when they go trick-or-treating. Children may have a difficult time handling a dog, especially since they are wearing unfamiliar clothing and carrying candy buckets and various props. You dog could get loose, especially if it is spooked by the strange sights and sounds of trick-or-treaters.

So by all means have fun on Halloween but use plain old common sense about how your pets should or should not be a part of the festivities.

Here’s a cold weather hint: You probably need a new pet to cuddle up with and possibly add some glamour to your life. You can do that by adopting a pet at our Elegant Cats and Handsome Dogs Adoption Day, Saturday, October 24th from 11 to 2 at the Tractor Supply Company, Route 104 East, Oswego.

Then come to our Home 4 the Holidays Adoption Extravaganza on Sunday, November 15th from 10 to 4 at the Oswego Armory. In addition to being able to find your new best friend, you can get acquainted with many of the animal welfare organizations in our area, buy some Holiday reading at our book sale, have some lunch, and do some Holiday shopping at our Craft Show with local crafters and artisans. There will also be pet photos with Santa. It will be fun.

You can find out more about our pets for adoption at www.oswegohumane.org. Crafters who would like to be part of the Craft show can sign up online at www.oswegohumane.org/events or call the office for an application.