16 of the cutest pet Halloween costumes and tips for keeping pets happy with them

You’re smart enough to know to keep candy away from your pets, but do your kids know? Kids can leave their bag of treats within reach of a curious dog who might eat the candy and get very sick.

Most people know that chocolate can be deadly to dogs, but did you know that sugar-free candies containing xylitol, stevia or aspartame, commonly found in gum and mints, can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar in dogs and can be fatal? Make sure there are strict rules about where candy should stay if there are pets and children in the house.

If a doorbell rings or children shout “Trick or Treat!” stresses your pets, keep them indoors, preferably in a closed room. Better yet, sit outside and hand out candy so the doorbell never rings. Also, make sure your pets have up-to-date ID tags in case they run out the door.

Finally, if you’re dressing your pet, make sure he’s okay with it. If your pets are constantly trying to take their costumes off, don’t make them wear them.

Some animals don’t mind wearing a costume or being around people in costume. Know what your pet tolerates and respect it. If he’s wearing a costume, make sure it doesn’t cover his eyes and ears or prevent him from relieving himself. The photos in the slideshow above show the good and bad choices.

New Pet Ordinances

After more than eight months of community meetings and several community surveys, the San Antonio City Council this month gave some treats to our city’s Chapter 5 Animal Ordinances.

The first new provision prohibits the use of chains of any weight as dog tethers. This does not prohibit tying your dog outside; it only forbids strings as a means of doing so. It’s a step in the right direction that will make life a little better for outdoor dogs.

Hormones can impact dog aggression, and male dogs may stray from home to find female dogs in heat. Another amendment introduces stricter sterilization requirements for dogs that have been legally declared dangerous or repeatedly impounded by animal care services for straying.

People may find it harder to find homes for accidental litters. ACS officers may confiscate pets sold in illegal locations, such as roadsides or flea markets, or from people without a litter permit.

Do you have chickens? San Antonio residents can now have eight laying hens on their property, but no more than one rooster. This new provision does not replace Ward Declarations, which may restrict the number of chickens or ban chickens altogether from your subdivision.

While the revised animal ordinances are already in effect, ACS is planning a six-month bilingual awareness campaign to help educate the community about the new animal laws.

Send pet stories and questions to [email protected] You can read his blog, Animals Matter, at blog.mysanantonio.com/animals. Twitter: @Cathy M. Rosenthal