How to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween with your pet or horse
Whilst many of us love Halloween, with more of us partaking in the celebrations with fun themed activities and food, it can be a scary and hazardous time for our pets and horses. The last thing anyone wants on Halloween is a scary rush to the vets and a resulting monstrous vet’s bill! But Halloween need not by a frightening time, it can be a great opportunity to do more fun things with our animals with some forethought and care. Here’s our guide to enjoying Halloween safely with our four-legged companions with some great ideas for your horse or pet to join in on the fun.
KEEPING PETS SAFE AT HALLOWEEN
- Remember to keep the human treats just for humans and the pet treats just for pets. Ensure all food items cannot be accessed by your dog or cat to avoid getting their paws on them. Accidentally eating sweet treats intended for us can cause our pets big problems, from ingesting plastic sweet wrappers causing gastrointestinal blockages and ingredients that can make them very ill. Artificial sweeteners like xylitol in candy and theobromine in chocolate are highly toxic to our pets.
- Avoid the temptation to dress your pets up in costumes. Not all pets like wearing costumes and they can easily become entangled and trapped in clothing. This can be especially dangerous if caught around their necks or limbs and they may run away in fright. Instead, consider a new novelty themed collar specially made for pets from a reputable retailer that fits correctly. For cats, ensure collars always have a safety release to break away if they get caught up.
- Take care that all themed decorations are out of reach of your pets. Be mindful of keeping pets away from cables that could be chewed, fog machines (fog fluid can be toxic) and small plastic items (such as spiders etc.) that pets could chew and ingest.
- Be extra careful with lit candles. Keep all candles out of reach and always supervise your vet if they are in a room with a lit candle. Beware of small batteries in battery candles too that could be accidentally ingested.
- Take care walking your dog close to trick or treaters wearing costumes that may confuse or frighten them. If possible, head out before dark in areas where you are less likely to come across them.
- For nervous pets, try to get home before dark to be with them to give reassurance with your presence.
If pets are worried about trick or treaters regularly coming to the door, give your pet a safe place to go with some music and toys to distract them. Perhaps put a notice on the door to stop callers if your pets are likely to be distressed. You could leave a treat box with a lid outside the door for trick or treaters to help themselves to avoid the disturbance of regular visitors.
Many pets sadly go missing at Halloween. Opening the door often to trick or treaters or hosting themed parties means there are more opportunities for our pets to escape. Make sure their microchip details are up to date and your dog has a collar and tag with your contact details to give them the best chance of being returned home safe and sound.
HALLOWEEN FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY
There’s no better way to spend the spooky season with your pet when you can get the whole family involved too! Here’s some great ideas that both adults and kids will love.
- Buy a new autumn or Halloween themed toy for your pet
- Snuggle up together with a spooky movie.
- Teach your pet to learn a new ‘Trick’ to earn a ‘Treat’.
- Make pet safe Halloween shaped treats. You can find pet safe recipes online from trusted sources such as veterinary centres and well-known animal charities.
- If dogs are welcome, why not take your dog pumpkin picking or go for a woodland walk to explore crunchy fallen leaves. These make for wonderful autumnal photo opportunities too! If your dog is ok with Halloween decorations, why not try a local outdoor themed spooky trail? Have a nervous dog? How about a fun themed scavenger hunt around the house.
HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES WITH HORSES
It’s not just cats and dogs that can enjoy the Halloween fun. There are some great activities that you can do with your horse or pony too.
- Halloween themed fancy dress competitions and fun gymkhana games. Whether you buy a costume or make one for you and your horse, be sure that it is safe and can be easily and quickly removed if needed. Also make sure your horse or pony isn’t spooked by the costume! You don’t need to venture out to enjoy a show either. Why not have a trick or treat theme event at the yard and enjoy equestrian games or make Halloween themed jumps? Apple bobbing anyone?
- Along with apples, horses love eating pumpkins. Why not find horse friendly pumpkin or apple treat recipes online and make some shaped cookies? – Just remember not to overfeed them and make sure all the ingredients are safe for your horse to enjoy.
- If your horse is clipped and you fancy testing your creative skills, why not try incorporating a little spooky detail into the clip such as these brilliant jack o lanterns by @CBS Equine or go more adventurous with a custom clip like @Jillian Scott Clipper Queen. Our Showmate II cordless horse trimmers or medium duty A5 horse clippers with an extra narrow toe blade are brilliant for small intricate details and can be used for all the usual trimming duties.
Brilliant pumpkin designs by Caroline @CBS Equine
- If you’re venturing out with your horse or pony at this time of year, be wary if your riding close to houses or buildings decorated with theming that could spook your horse. Stick to bridleways and the countryside of possible.
Superb creative Halloween clip by @Clipper Queen