Halloween Costume Safety for Your Pooch

Dog care for your pooch this Halloween

Halloween is a time for dressing up to be pretty or scary, taking a moment to play into our imagination and even get into a favorite character’s costume. It’s a fun chance to change things up, stray away from the ordinary world and envelop ourselves in fantasy.

What’s great is that even our dogs can join in the fun. Perhaps you want to go as Little Bo Peep, while your dog gets to play the part of the sheep. It’s a clever thought, and the combinations are only limited by imagination. However, there are a few things to consider when dressing up your pup this Halloween to ensure that everyone stays safe and has fun.

Material

When it comes to safety, material is one of the most important things to consider regarding a costume. Can they eat it? Is it toxic? Many dogs, especially younger pups, tend to have a bit of a chewing problem. Avoid thin plastics that they can choke on, and in most cases, cotton materials breathe the best and won’t tear as easily.

The next question to ask: Is it flammable? When picture-taking time arrives, your dog might end up next to a Jack ‘O Lantern, posing a very real danger to them. Avoid flammable materials such as nylon, and always keep your dog away from any flames in the first place.

Safety

You must then consider what your dog naturally does – run and play. Will the costume and decorations hinder their activities? Are there stray tags or strings that drag that they could get tangled in or trip on? Will they get trapped if they go through a tight space such as a doggy door? Some costumes can become a little bulky, such as Little Bo Peep’s sheep, and can make it easy for your dog to get caught on things, especially since they aren’t accustomed to the extra attire.

What about the evening’s environment? Can your dog be seen at night? This aspect is not often considered, but it is incredibly important on such an active night when the doorbell is constantly ringing and the front door is opening and closing just as much. Reflective tape can be used to help spot your dog at night and can be applied to just about any costume material (except your dog’s fur).

Is the costume too tight? Some costumes rely on elastic bands, while others may utilize strings or Velcro. Be sure that the costume doesn’t restrict any areas of their body, such as their neck or belly. Your pup isn’t always able to tell you that they can’t breathe very well (unless they’re Lassie and you’re Timmy!).

Most importantly, can your dog still potty comfortably? While most costumes are limited to the neck and chest area, you don’t want to cover the entire body, or you may end up with a surprise package later on. If the costume does limit their ability to potty, you can always trim it to accommodate their needs, after all comfort will affect how much fun they are having.

Your dog’s cooperation is essential

Of course, not every dog is going to appreciate dressing up as much as you might want them to. Dogs are incredibly loyal animals, but in the case of putting on some extra attire, not every pup is going to cooperate. If they do, they may end up a little frustrated and grumpy afterwards. Are they going to tear it up and drag it around when you aren’t looking? Most likely yes. They will signal discomfort, and often some scratching and investigating is to be expected. But if they continue to wrestle with it, you may want to try something else.

In the case of comfort and willingness to wear, the concept of “too hot to handle” may prove to be useful. Some of the furrier breeds aren’t going to be as appreciative of a bulky costume as other’s might. However, there are some that do appreciate the extra warmth of their new attire, such as the cold-sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas. With the fall near, they may want to have a little extra to keep them warm while you’re handing out treats.

It is fun to include your pup for the holidays, but it’s more important to make sure that they stay safe. This Halloween, be sure that your dog stays comfortable and safe so that you both can enjoy the holiday season.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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ROCKY ADVENTURE – Tricky Feet!

Porch Potty: Rocky Adventure

The old man dressed up strangely today, perhaps just to make sure he fits in with the rest of us. Debbie brought us some pup-kin pies to fill our bellies later (I insisted on right now, but you can’t argue with her).

Izzy and I are dressed up, as well. My attire was easy enough to put on – a bumble bee outfit that Christy put together for me out of last year’s outfit. The antennae have little bulbs that bounce around above my head, and I have a simple striped vest on that has the benefit of keeping me warm this time of year. I may not even want to take it off later. Though, the antennae are driving me crazy whenever they bounce around. They always manage to stay just out of reach when I lunge at them.

While everyone else got dressed quickly and with little struggle, Izzy decided not to cooperate at the last minute. First, he ran away and then hid in the bedroom. When Debbie and I cornered him, he decided that it was all just a new game we had randomly come up with. He grabbed the vest he was supposed to wear (supposedly, he is what our peoples call a “pirate”). When Izzy is in one of his moods, he can’t be stopped with mere words.

He raced around the house – teasing both Debbie and the old man by letting them get close, then, staying just out of reach as he fled to the adjacent room. Oh, he’s gonna be in trouble when this is over.

Eventually, Izzy was put in a spot where he had no choice but to give up. Oh yes, it was either give up or no pup-kin pie tonight. He gave up.

Izzy cooperated with everything but the hat he was supposed to wear. Now, I’ve seen many people wear those things, but their ears are a good deal smaller than ours. Hats are just plain uncomfortable for us dogs. But, on occasion, they do make excellent chew-toys. Which is what happened to Izzy’s.

And now, the old man, dressed up in his mad-hatter style attire is busy greeting and treating the people-pups at the door. They’re wearing costumes. I remember this fact from last year. Though, it seems that Izzy does not. He barks at every one of them and runs away. One bark and he’s off to the bedroom where he peeks around the corner and asks them what they want. Of course, all they want are some treats from the bowl (I can’t blame them with a smell so sweet).

Debbie’s attire is quite interesting. She is a cat. A strange choice, but I guess today is all about being a little strange and having fun in the process. The funny thing is, every time she “meows,” Izzy goes crazy and starts searching the area for a real cat. I could tell him who is responsible, but that would end the silly charade, so I won’t.

Later on, our party is joined by Christy and Buck, whom are also dressed up for the occasion. Buck was completely dumbfounded by the whole idea. He was wearing nothing more than a bandana around his neck and is quite confused about Debbie’s cat outfit.

Christy was the complete opposite, wearing a very fluffy dress and tall, pointy hat. She even had a little stick she waved around and told us she would grant us any wish we desired. I told her a treat was in order, but she just rubbed my back instead. Oh well, I guess that is a treat too. But I was thinking a little more along the lines of some pup-kin pie, which we did eventually get. A slice for each of us to enjoy as the people-pups came to the door and chanted their call.

And the funny thing is… they always said the same thing. It didn’t matter whether Debbie, Christy, or the old man answered the door (although when I was there, there was always a “cute puppy!” added in at the end), I’m sure they were always saying, “Tricky feet.” People can be so strange sometimes.

Author:

Jason Duron is a short story writer and author of several fiction stories.  Curious and lovable as dogs can be, the Adventures of Rocky give you a chance to see daily life from a “dog’s eye view” and share in their thoughts.  Please enjoy, and we hope that you’ll feel free to comment and give us insight into your dog’s very own “rocky” adventures.

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Pet Safety Around Electronics

Dog owners manage your wires and electronics properly

Electricity flows through our homes, powering appliances and machinery that help improve the quality of life. Radios, televisions, X-boxes, and even the trimmer or hair straighteners we plug into the wall make life simpler and more entertaining, but they can also be a danger to your dog.

What is it that makes electronics such a safety hazard for our four-legged companions? At the most basic level, dogs love to chew. Power cords are soft and malleable, and are perhaps the most dangerous of all. As such, there are a host of other situations to consider and prepare for. After all, you don’t want to learn when it’s too late.

Wires all around

Dangling wires can be very attractive to a dog (and especially for cats), and are potentially the most dangerous. The television, speakers, and even the cord to the vacuum cleaner all make for attractive chew toys. And whether or not they are plugged in, they can still be dangerous. The copper wires can become needles in your dog’s mouth and throat, so keep cords unavailable at all times.

Cover exposed cords. Run them under furniture whenever possible. In cases where open cords cross the floor, covering them with a rug can be a handy trick. What if they’re traveling along the wall? Try staples or tape to cover them and keep them securely out of reach.

Cords that remain exposed- such as those for power tools or equipment- can be wrapped in duct tape to make them tougher to chew on (plus it tastes bad too).

Something else to consider

The buzzing of electronics can also be attractive to a dog. Game consoles and wireless routers can be warm and stimulating for a dog, and in some cases they may not even chew on them but rather snuggle up with them. While this might not seem dangerous at first, it is always possible that they might block the cooling system or burn themselves through exposure.

There is always the possibility of a dog urinating on an electrical device as well. This makes a short circuit possible that may result in a fire or even electrocution. Keep these devices up high or out of your dog’s reach.

What about the television (or something similar) falling down? When considering the dangers of electronics, we seldom include the more obvious circumstance of a falling object. Unsecured devices can be knocked over or fall from high locations, especially if the power cord is dangling quite attractively. Take precautions in securing heavy electronics so they won’t become falling objects.

Then there is the classic situation of the missing remote control. We may lose it in the couch, put it in the freezer, or even forget it’s in your left pocket.  Sometimes, however, the culprit is your faithful companion.  You handle a controller regularly, and thus it smells like you and makes for a very attractive chew toy for any dog. Be sure that you have a home for your controller, such as a box or up on the entertainment center- just so long as it’s out of your dog’s sight and snout.

If you’re having trouble with your dog targeting electronics out of sheer fascination (smell and familiarity often associated with anxiety), you may have to begin limiting their space when unattended. Crates or door-gates can help keep a dog in safe areas when you’re gone. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t pursue old habits when you let them back out.

It can be difficult to train your dog to avoid electronic dangers, especially chewing habits. In these cases, certain deterrent or bittering sprays can make the item unattractive to them. But, the most effective method is proper training, since it will ensure that your dog responds to your commands- for their safety.

Additionally, when you’re done with a plug-in device, be sure to put it away. Trimmers, curling irons, and hair straighteners can all be dangerous since they are often left on the counter to cool or dry out. A tug on the cord could bring them down on top of your pup, injuring them. Unplug your items and put them in a safe out-of-reach spot (wrap up the cord) and allow them to cool.

It’s up to you as your dog’s owner and protector to ensure they are always safe. The average household is full of electronic devices, and in most cases dogs will leave them alone (unless they have their own Facebook page to update). Be sure your dog’s home is a safe place to be and you can be sure that everyone will be happy.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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