By Tamara McRill
Have the perfect pumpkin sitting in front of you and out of ideas on what to carve? Just look to your favorite canine companion for inspiration! Carving a pumpkin in my dogs’ images is hands-down my favorite Halloween tradition. It’s even a project that can be tackled by the less than artistic among us. There are three basic options you can use to carve the exact likeness of your dog:
Dog Breed Pumpkin Templates
If your dog is the poster child for his breed in looks, then chances are you can do a quick online search and come up with a pumpkin template or stencil that looks remarkably similar. Just type the breed plus “pumpkin template” into your browser. For example, my Wuppy is a Chocolate Labrador, so I would search for “chocolate lab pumpkin template.”
There are plenty of sites and articles online to find these, such as Better Homes and Gardens. Once you find the best template for your dog, you’ll need to print the template.
Altering Templates for an Exact Look
For mixed dogs that look mostly like one breed, you can use a template and add the minor changes. Our dog Dusty is a Dalmatian and Pitbull mix, but mostly resembles the first in the face. So for him I can get away with printing out a Dalmatian stencil and drawing in slightly wider cheeks and perkier ears. Altering the template is also an excellent way to personalize pumpkins for purebred dogs. This way you can get the spots in the same place or make sure fringe placement is exact.
Exact Dog Portrait Template
Templates are wonderful for breed-specific dogs, but maybe you have a mixed masterpiece like our Cody. We have a good idea of his mix, but I have never been able to find a pumpkin carving template that looks just like him. So I came up with a simple way to make my own.
By Tamara McRill
Want to give canine trick-or-treaters a ghoulish good time this Halloween? Of course you do, and one fun way to do so is to host a Howl-O-Ween party designed just for dogs. It’s a great way to let dogs socialize, and for you and your friends to have some fun, too. Here are some tips – from venue to treats and more – to make sure your pet’s Halloween party is safe and they have a howling good time.
Perfect Pawty Venue
The first thing you will have to decide is where to hold the party. Outside is best, but not always possible if the temps are starting to dip in your area. Consider getting together in a dog park or a fenced in backyard. You’ll want lots of room for the four-legged guests to run and play games.
If you do need to hold the party indoors, make sure you have enough floor space and easy access to the outside. If you don’t want to use your own home, check into pet schools or other indoor facilities.
Wherever you host the party, you’ll need separate spaces for food, bathroom and quiet time.
Not So Chilling Decorations
Don’t go too frightening with the decor. You don’t want a bunch of nervous or stressed dogs on your hands, but there are still plenty of other options. Think more along the lines of “interesting things to sniff” rather than something that makes scary noises or pops out. Hay, pumpkins and leaves are always interesting to dogs.
Incorporating dog bones and skeletons into the theme would be perfect for a doggy Halloween. You can also set up a graveyard for them to wander, with a few loose “body parts.” Just make sure there are enough to go around – you don’t want to start a dog fight over a plastic foot!
By Linda Cole
Halloween is a holiday many people plan for long before the leaves begin to fall. Spooky costumes, eerie sounds, and a house full of masked intruders invade our lives, which can terrify some pets. Halloween is a time for human fun, but it’s also a time to remember your pet to help make their holiday as stress free as possible. It’s a reminder that’s given each year, but it’s important because we need to keep our pets safe during this holiday.
Many people decorate their homes with scary ghosts and goblins, and play creepy sounds on the CD player for Halloween. A pet’s home is suddenly overrun with two legged creatures that may sound like humans, but they don’t look normal and that can confuse and frighten some pets. We don’t always notice how our pets react to things we find enjoyable. Scary music and loud noises can be stressful. It’s enough to send a frightened dog or cat racing out the front door when it’s opened to trick-or-treaters or guests arriving for a party.
Animal shelters are very busy right after Halloween with lost pets that are found and turned over to them. Even a friendly and happy dog can become stressed or aggressive by seeing creatures instead of people standing at the front door. Not all pets are happy when company comes, and dogs or cats that normally go crazy every time the doorbell rings can become agitated with the constant interruptions. The safest thing you can do to protect your pet and your guests is to secure your pet in a room away from the ghosts of Halloween. If your pet doesn’t have a microchip, make sure they wear an ID tag just in case they slip out the door. That way, if someone finds your pet they know who to call. If you walk your dog on Halloween, keep him on a short leash to control him better. Using reflective tape on his collar and leash can help drivers see him.
By Julia Williams
The jubilant holiday known as Halloween is a great time to be a kid – or a fun-loving adult. Halloween is not, however, a particularly good time to be a black cat. Like ghosts, bats, jack-o’ lanterns, skeletons and witches, black cats are a classic Halloween symbol. The difference is that black cats are also living beings. This opens the door to all sorts of problems for the black cat, ranging from teenage mischief to outright cruelty, to people using real black cats as part of their “spooky” Halloween décor.
It can be hard for responsible pet owners to fathom how such things could occur, because we’d never dream of doing them ourselves. It’s not hard for your local animal shelter to imagine, though, because many of them have seen it firsthand. The threat of danger to black cats on Halloween became so prevalent that a decade or so ago, many shelters instituted a policy that still stands today: no black cat adoptions during the entire month of October.
Before the ban, many shelters saw an increase in black cat adoptions just before Halloween. They also noted that many of those same black cats were returned to the shelter after the holiday, often with vague excuses. One can reasonably assume that these thoughtless humans simply wanted a “cool” Halloween decoration for their house or their witch’s costume. These types typically regard pets as property rather than living beings that would be traumatized by being adopted for a few weeks and given up once the holiday was over.