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Halloween – Scary for Pets too

1.10.2019

A guide for pet owners in the spooky, festive season

Halloween has become a treat not only in the US, but globally. Children enjoy the chance to dress up in scary costumes and go trick-or-treating while Halloween parties offer older fans of the holiday a fun opportunity for costumes. For our pets, however, Halloween can be a scary time for a different reason. FOUR PAWS gives tips on how to make the spooky season less stressful for your pet.

Changes in the surroundings, such as seasonal and noisy decorations, can cause stress in pets and could also be harmful. Cats are especially sensitive to any changes when it comes to their home: they are creatures of routine and like everything to stay the same. Halloween decorations, such as candles, pumpkins and ghostly décor, when ingested or played with, could pose a danger to pets in the home. 

When Halloween night comes around, the constant ringing of doorbells are disturbing to most pets, especially for dogs. 

Strangers coming into homes in odd or noisy outfits can be frightening for dogs. Keeping your pets in a secluded room, where less noise reaches them, is a good option. Keeping their visual contact low also has benefits, and it can be helpful to have music on in the room your pets are in and at a low volume; to cover up some of the outside noise.

Treats that are not healthy

Trick-or-treat is one of the best things about Halloween. But beware, many of these treats are a serious risk to pets. Chocolate, even small amounts, can be deadly for dogs and cats. Candy should, by any means, be kept out of reach for pets. 

Of course, it can be fun to use the festivities to do something good for your pet, such as baking treats with pumpkin or oats. You can find some healthy recipes below. 

Use daytime for walks

Once it gets dark on Halloween, little witches and vampires roam the streets. To avoid the crowds of people, you should plan your walk with the dog during the daytime. This way you avoid uncomfortable meetings where your dog might react differently than usual due to the costumed people. Your cats roaming should also be restricted to the daytime and kept indoors once the sun goes down. 

Costumes for pets – not a good idea

Unfortunately, there are harmful accessories for pets and even costumes for our four-legged friends. As fun as it may seem,  it is strongly discouraged to disguise dogs and other animals. 

Depending on the costume, not only is the freedom of movement of the animals restricted, but the communication of body language is also prevented. Dogs communicate their feelings through the position of their ears, the position of their tail, their posture and their eyes. If these means of communication are concealed by costumes, our companions are deprived of any possibility of species-appropriate communication. The costume can also cause stress in the animals, especially if there are parts of the disguise that flutter around, for example.  

Dog clothing can also cause skin problems because the materials can rub against the animals' skin. The most common disease that causes this is atopic dermatitis, a skin disease that can be caused by allergic reactions.

Halloween Cookies for Pets

Let your pets enjoy the Halloween fun – in rations

Pumpkin Pie Cat Treats

For this recipe, two foods highly beneficial to cats are included: carrot and pumpkin. These homemade goodies are also perfect for cats that usually consume a lot of meat and a lower percentage of fruits and vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 250 grams of brown rice flour
  • 60 grams of uncooked oatmeal
  • 120 grams of canned pumpkin
  • 120 grams of grated carrots
  • 60 grams of unsweetened plain applesauce
  • 30 grams of brown rice flour for rolling

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Blend pumpkin, applesauce, and carrots in food processor until smooth.
  3. Mix brown rice flour and oatmeal in a bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix by hand until dough forms.
  5. On a floured counter-top or cutting board, roll dough to thin layer.
  6. Use cookie cutter to form cute shapes or cut into small squares.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Flip treats over and bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.

Doggy Pumpkin Peanut Treats

This dog treat is an easy make with only 3 ingredients. Tasty also for humans.  

Ingredients 

  • 120 grams of oats (old fashioned)
  • 40 grams of canned pumpkin
  • 30 grams of natural peanut butter

Preparation 

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Grind the oats into a fine powder in a food processor.
  3. Add pumpkin and peanut butter and blend together until it's a sticky dough.
  4. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface. (If your dog is sensitive to wheat, use brown rice flour.)
  5. Use a cookie cutter or cut the dough into squares with a knife
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until the dog biscuits are dry and hard