Boo! Halloween is almost upon us and while we search for last minute costumes, and of course, our favorite treats, take a moment to consider our furry friends. Children running through neighborhoods, squeals of laughter, doorbells ringing, and costumes are fun for the people in our families, but all these sights and sounds can be overwhelming for some pets.
To keep your pet safe and happy during Halloween festivities, consider the following tips:
- Halloween decorations. Decorations are a must for a fun and festive Halloween but can pose a danger to pets. Jack-o’-lanterns are everywhere! While carved pumpkins are not toxic, consuming raw pumpkin can cause gastrointestinal upset and flames from candles can be a hazard. Use battery-powered candles instead to prevent fires or burns if your pet accidentally topples a pumpkin. Keep spooky spider webs up high and out of reach – both in and outside your home. These fake webs can get caught in fur, faces, and paws, and depending on how they are hung, can pose a danger to migrating birds and butterflies.
- Leave your pet at home. As tempting as it is to bring out the whole family for the trick or treating adventure, it’s best to leave your pet at home. The extra people walking about, the strange costumes, and the scary noises coming from equally scary decorations could cause your pet to become agitated. If you decide to take your dog with you, make sure he’s on a leash, keep him close to you, and keep him under control. What seems like fun for you and your children, may seem scary for a dog, and may cause a usually friendly dog to bark, growl, or snap at children or other dogs. Have a back-up plan in case you need to take him home.
- No sharing! While you may try to get your children to share their candy with you, don’t let them share any chocolate or candies with your pets! Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, causing vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures. Consuming even small amounts of candy or gum sweetened with xylitol can quickly cause life-threatening liver failure in dogs. Candy and chocolate bar wrappers can be appealing to cats and dogs – but if ingested, can cause intestinal upset or even a life-threatening blockage. Keep the loot bag well out of reach.
- Secure you pet in a safe place. A frightened dog or cat may escape through an open door when it’s answered to give out candy. And let’s face it, the door is opened a lot on Halloween! Dogs may become territorial and bark when strangers come to the door, startling young children. Keep pets in a separate area of your home if possible, such as the basement or a bedroom with music or the television playing to block out the noise.
- Pet costumes. Pet costumes are fun for a few minutes of photo opportunities for social media – but be sure the costume is safe for your pet and fits properly, and your pet can see, hear, and breathe properly.
Have fun this Halloween, and make sure your pet is safe and happy during the celebrations! Trick or treat!