Treat-or-treating is a festive, candy-filled evening for kids everywhere. But when it comes to our pets, it can be a scary nightmare. From those chocolate goodies that can wreak havoc on pet’s tummies (and even lead to death), to Fido or Fluffy accidentally getting out of the home each time a new ghoul or goblin rings the doorbell, Halloween with your pet can be dangerous.
However, it doesn’t have to be a night fraught with peril. Read on for a short guide of safety tips to keeping this Halloween pet-friendly.
7 Tips for a Pet-Safe Halloween
1. Leave No Pets in the Yard
Unfortunately, Halloween can bring out the pranksters and cruelty in some people. Don’t let your dog or cat fall victim to one of these predators. Keep your dogs and cats indoors on Halloween, especially those that are black (which tend to have a bigger target placed on them). In fact, many animal shelters will not adopt out black cats in October because of the myths and rituals that can follow those fables.
2. Candy Treats Are NOT for Pets
Most pet parents are well educated on the hazards of chocolate and dogs - it’s the ingredient called “theobromine” that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and even death - the darker the chocolate the more theobromine is present; however, even milk chocolate and white chocolate can also cause illness.
Those fun-size treats are not the only potential problem lurking in your child’s Halloween sac. Candy containing an artificial sweetener called Xylitol is also poisonous to our pooches. Even the smallest amount of this chemical can cause a drop in your dog’s blood sugar, which in turn can create a loss of coordination and seizures. Your pup’s liver can also fail due to this toxic ingredient.
It’s not just the edible stuff pet parents have to watch out for with their furry companions, but also the wrappers they come in. Cellophane and plastic wrappers can become a choking hazard if ingested, so make sure your kids don’t leave any wrappers lying around where the pets can easily swallow them.
3. Just Say “No” to the Glow
Glow sticks are an excellent way to light up your children on a dark Halloween evening. But when it comes to our pets, say “NO” to the glow. Even though the chemicals inside the glow stick are non-toxic, if Fido or Fluffy decides to chomp down on one it will taste awful, so they will usually react with excessive drooling, pawing at the face and mouth, and sometimes vomiting. If your pet does get into a glowstick, give them plenty of water, and a small meal to get rid of the taste in their mouth.
4. Keep Halloween Decorations Out of Reach
Decorations are fun this time of the year, but for our pets, real pumpkin and corn products can become a problem. Sure in its purest form, pumpkin and corn are fine for animals to ingest, but when these products become old and moldy, they can create gastrointestinal issues with our beloved buddies. If a large chunk is ingested, it may also cause a blockage that can have Fido at the vet getting emergency surgery. To ensure the safety of your pets, keep decorations (of any nature) well out of reach of your curious animals.
You will also want to be aware of using open flames (such as lit candles in jack-o-lanterns) with animals in the home. These can be knocked over and start a fire, or burn fur and whiskers if a curious cat gets too close
5. No Door-Dashing
You may have a pet that loves to sneak out of the house every time the door is open, so to prevent any escapees, be sure to put your cat in a closed room, or Fido in his kennel until the festivities are over.
6. ID Please
Even the most vigilant of a pet parent can lose their fur baby, especially with the chaos and commotion that comes with Halloween. To prevent your pet from becoming lost forever, be sure your cat or dog’s ID tags and collar are securely around his/her neck. If your worst nightmare come true, and your pet gets out, your chances of recovering him or her are a lot better with ID tags.
7. Pet Costume SafetyIt’s fun to dress up our pets for Halloween, but animals aren’t humans, and for some, having clothes on their furry bodies is unnatural and even irritating. If you are dressing up your pet, make a mental checklist of what to look for in a pet costume (besides being adorable). Your chosen outfit should:
- Not restrict your pet’s ability to move
- Be easy to see out of
- Not restrict airways (nose, mouth)
- Not contain any loose objects or those that could easily be chewed off.
Another tip for dressing up your pet is to always put it on your pal before the big night. This allows your animal to get used to the costume. Make this a fun, praise-filled experience, so Fluffy or Fido will enjoy the costume, not fight, bite and struggle to be free of it. Lastly, never leave the costume on your pet unsupervised. If something goes wrong, you want to be right there to rectify the situation.
Happy (Pet-Safe) Halloween!
Halloween should be fun for both your kids and your pets. Keep treats and decorations away from your animals to prevent accidental ingestion. Secure your animals in their kennels or a separate room so they don’t accidentally get outside, and be aware that not all people out on this night are looking for good clean fun. Don’t let your pets fall victim to tricks, treats, or even cute costumes. Taking a few moments to prepare your pets for Halloween will keep them safe and happy.