Frankie, an adorable, scruffy, terrier mix, was ecstatic about the new holiday that was fast approaching—it was his first Halloween, and he didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun. His non-furry siblings had been talking for weeks about the scariest costumes, tastiest treats, and the houses with the best candy. Frankie wanted to ensure he was part of the action.

At their next visit to the pet store, Frankie pulled his mom to the pet costume display. Since it was so close to Halloween, pickings were slim, but Frankie saw the perfect costume—a bright green Frankenstein outfit. His mom noticed him nosing around the costume, and declared it perfect, too. But, because few costumes were left, she had to buy a size that was a little snug for Frankie.

“Hopefully you don’t grow anymore before Halloween, Frankie. This may be a little tight on you, but it’s too adorable to pass up.”  

Finally, the big day arrived. Frankie’s mom crammed him into his costume and put him by the front door with the candy dish between his paws, where the tempting treats in the dish distracted him from his too-tight costume. Who can resist a Butterfinger binge? 

As Frankie gorged himself on chocolaty treats, the doorbell rang. His mom came running, noticed the chocolate smeared all over his muzzle, and began shrieking. 

“Oh, no. Dogs aren’t supposed to eat chocolate! And you’ve made a huge mess, right as our first trick-or-treaters show up.”

Frankie was startled by his mom yelling and her weird clothing—she was a witch, complete with a warty nose and threatening broomstick. As she opened the door to silence the ringing doorbell, Frankie took off.

Terrified by the strangers standing on the doorstepa vampire, a zombie, and something covered in slime—Frankie bolted down the street looking for a safe spot. As he ran through the bushes, he was suddenly jerked to a halthis Frankenstein costume had snagged on a branch, and no matter how much he struggled, his costume only grew tighter.

Frankie panicked as he began to choke. He yipped in terror, begging for help from anyone, even a horrifying monster. Fortunately, the zombie he had passed on his doorstep heard his cries, freed him from his noose, and, remembering his house, returned Frankie the Frankenstein to his frantic mom.

After releasing Frankie from his costume and chatting with the veterinarian about his candy consumption, the family settled in for the evening. Rather than risk another door dash, the candy bowl was put outside to remove the chocolate temptation. Candy bags were also placed high out of reach, since Frankie was already likely to experience a bout of diarrhea from his earlier snack, although the veterinarian had reassured Frankie’s mom he didn’t eat enough chocolate to cause more serious problems. 

As the family snuggled on the couch to watch a scary movie, they reflected on how horrifying this Halloween had been, and what they should do to make next year’s a success.

Lessons learned

Frankie’s first, scary Halloween taught his family many good lessons they will remember next year, lessons that can be applied to most holidays:

  • Pets enjoy their birthday suit best — Although a vast assortment of adorable pet costumes is available, pets really prefer nothing more than the fur they were born with. If you can’t resist a cute costume, ensure it fits well. Check for snugness around the neck and chest, and avoid hoods that can droop over your pet’s eyes. Also, avoid buttons your pet could swallow.
  • Keep candy out of paws’ reach — It’s hard to refuse a pet questing for his own Halloween treats, but keep all candy out of his reach. Chocolate, sugar substitutes, and raisins can be deadly for pets, so give him his own appropriate treat, chew, or toy to celebrate the holiday.

  • Strangers are scary — Strangers can startle a pet on a normal day. Add in scary costumes and a rotating crowd of strange people, and the most laid-back pet will feel uneasy. Keep your pet out of the commotion to prevent his anxiety and possible escape. Block access to your front door, and place your pet in his crate or set him up in a quiet bedroom. Make the space cozy, with a soft bed and a special treat or toy, and consider playing music to help block out scary sounds.
  • Ensure your pet is properly identified — In case the unthinkable happens, and your pet slips out the front door while you’re distracted complimenting trick-or-treaters on their clever costumes, ensure he’s always properly identified with a collar and updated identification tags. We recommend that your pet be permanently identified with a microchip to help ensure you will be reunited with your furry friend. 

Prevent your own panicked pet’s terrifying tale this Halloween, and call us to schedule his microchipping appointment.