Ask Ashley – October 2022

Ask Ashley

Animal expert, Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA, is the Senior Director of Animal Behavior and Training at Great Plains SPCA. Ashley has more than 16 years of experience in animal training and behavior. Email for a chance to have your pet question answered in KC Parent magazine.

My dog is absolutely terrified during Halloween night when the children come over to trick or treat and he will not let anyone pet him. He is usually very friendly to unfamiliar people. I think he might just be afraid of the costumes. Any tips on how to help him before Halloween? Charlene Darlington

Many animals fear trick or treaters and children dressed in costumes. Normally, I talk about desensitization and socialization when animals are afraid of strangers, but if your dog is only afraid of people at Halloween, then I recommend putting him in another room for the couple of hours during the trick or treating since it’s only once a year. I personally put my dogs in my bedroom, use a white noisemaker, put on a TV show in the bedroom, and give them some peanut butter filled Kongs during that time. Hope you have a good and safe Halloween! – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

I have a dog that was found stray three years ago and she doesn’t really like people. She is due for her rabies vaccination and needs some other boosters, but I am nervous to take her to the vet. I fear that she might bite the vet. What can I do to get her vaccinated and keep everyone safe? – Summer Jones

I highly recommend you muzzle train your dog. I am a big advocate for using more muzzles to keep people and pets safe. Check out the Muzzle Up Project online. They have muzzle games you can play to train her in a fun way and get her to not mind being muzzled. Vets love when people have their pets muzzled because that keeps them safe, too. Check out the website to learn more! – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

How long do cats live? Makala (Age 6)

The average lifespan for an indoor cat is 12 – 18 years. If you keep them healthy by visiting a vet annually and updated on their vaccinations, then they can live much longer. Cats that live strictly outdoors have a shorter lifespan due to dangers they may face like illnesses, predators, and vehicles. Fun Fact: The Guinness Book of World Records reports a cat named Crème Puff who lived in Texas and ultimately died in 2005 at the age of 38 years and three days. – Ashley Flores, CPDT-KA

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