Tips for having a safe Halloween
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By Mickey Zeldes  October 25, 2013 12:00 am

So, how many Halloween parties have you been invited to?  And your dog?  Entered into any Halloween costume contests?

Well if no one else has invited you or your pup to a party – we are.  Join us on Monday, Oct. 28 at the Lagunitas Tap Room in Petaluma from 5:30-8:30 p.m. for our FUNdraiser, Bark, Brew and Boogie.  Dogs are invited and can participate in a K9 costume contest. A slice of Old Chicago Pizza is included in admission ($10 in advance, $12 at the door). We will be serving Lagunitas beer and Mutt Lynch wine, and there will be two bands playing – Fat Tires and Sweet Water – as well as some awesome raffle prizes for you to win.  All proceeds benefit the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.

Never been to a K9 costume party?  It’s fun and most dogs are totally adorable.  Use to be it was a big deal to dress up your dog – or rather, to try to dress up your dog – in a costume.  But canine clothing has become a multi-million dollar industry, and many dogs are so used to wearing outfits that being Superman or a dinosaur for a day is all rather ho-hum.

If you have a new dog, though, or one that’s not used to being dressed up, then the challenge is on.  Please take the time to acclimate your pet slowly, using tons of praise and treats.  Although it may make a hysterically funny YouTube video to see your cat running through the house being “chased” by his cape – the fear is real and good luck ever getting your pet close to a piece of clothing again.

Halloween can be dangerous to our pets, and I’m not even counting the stories of satanic rituals we hear being done to unfortunate felines.  I don’t think Sonoma County is a community of satanic groups, but it is a scary night for animals to be outdoors.  The neighborhoods are teeming with roaming bands of ghosts, witches and vampires, which can frighten even the best natured of our pets.  So it’s important to make sure everyone is safely ensconced indoors.

Candy, especially chocolates, can be fatal to our pets.  Be aware of where your give-away candy is stashed as well as the bags of goodies your kids bring home.  Candy hidden under the bed can be enticing to a dog whose sense of smell is at least 10 better than ours.  Even the non-chocolate kind has too much sugar to be good for our pets.

Be sure to keep pets away from the door when the trick-or-treaters start ringing the bell.  Even the most kid-friendly pooch can be frightened by the odd looking creatures crowding the front porch.  And no other day of the year has as much activity by the doorway – giving cats a prime opportunity to slip out if not safely secured in a back room.  Remember, in case that does happen, that the shelter is the first place to look for and report a missing pet.

Now is a good time to check that everyone is wearing a current ID tag and microchipped (both available for free at the shelter for all RP and Cotati city residents).  Better to be safe than sorry.  Hope to see you at the Bark, Beer and Boogie event and not at the shelter looking for your lost pet. 


Upcoming events

• October adoption specials: $25 for all bully breed dogs (we have pups, teenagers and adults) and $20 cat and bunny adoptions.  Hurry in for the best selection.

• Free pet ID tags and microchips for all Rohnert Park and Cotati pets.  Stop by the shelter during our open hours to protect your pet – Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 1-5:30 p.m. and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.

• Free cat spays/neuters at our monthly Fix-it Clinics (just $60 for dogs) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents.  Call 588-3531 for an appointment.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at


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