Halloween is a fun time for everyone, with costumes, parties, candies and chocolate treats - fall is in the air, and it is a great time of year! It can be a dangerous time for dogs and cats, however, with many unseen challenges lurking around every corner, waiting like ghouls and goblins... Here are a few tricks that will help make this Halloween safe for your dogs and cats!
1. Pet Costumes:
Pet costumes are always fun. They can be simple, or very complex, depending on what your dog or cat will let you get away with. While some pets enjoy dressing-up, others can find it stressful. Always make sure your pet tolerates the costume. Never leave your pet unattended with Halloween costumes, and be sure to keep them simple and safe so that your pet will not get twisted, tangled, or injured. When planning a costume for your pet:
- Keep pet costumes non-restrictive so your dog or cat can breathe easily and move naturally.
- Be careful of costumes with any electronic elements, moving, or small parts
2. Halloween Decorations:
Halloween decorations are so much fun, but they can pose a danger to naturally curious pets. They tend to move unexpectedly and make very strange noises. They can be either can be loud and scary, causing pets to become startled, or quite interesting. Never leave pets unattended with Halloween decorations, and when planning decorations, make sure pets can be separated from them when you aren’t home. Dogs and cats might eat the decorations, choke on small pieces, or become easily tangled
- For electric decorations, hide the wiring. Dogs and cats might chew on dangling cords, leading to electrical shocks or burns; or get tangled up in extension cords.
- If a real fire is being used to light candles or jack-o-lanterns, be sure to the keep flames out of reach where cats and dogs can't knock them over or burn themselves.
- While pumpkin is great for pets, eating rotten, moldy, or too much pumpkin can cause digestive upset in a bored and mischevious pet! It’s best to keep Halloween plants away from pets.
3. Noise and Strangers – Fearful Pets:
Halloween includes coming and going, doorbells ringing, loud noises and unexpected lights and motions. People can be everywhere, children can act erratically, and your pet might not know how to handle these challenges. Here are some tricks that can help decrease anxiety and fear in your pet this Halloween:
- Keep your pet in a separate room away from the chaos
- Turn on the radio, television or other background noise
- Use distraction by giving your dog or cat a toy to keep them entertained
- Talk to your veterinarian about medication or products that may help calm your pet
4. Noise and Strangers – Excitable Pets:
While some dogs and cats become fearful and want to hide from the noise and chaos of Halloween, others may become aggressive or excited. When confronted with unexpected noises and actions or people, some dogs or cats will scratch or bite, while others may try to jump on strangers. Some pets may even try and dart out the door while the trick-or-treaters are coming and going.
- Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween night, for their safety and the safety of others
- If your dog or cat does not already have a chip. Consider microchipping in case your pet gets out
- If you take your dog out during trick or treating hours keep them on a short leash
- Make sure your pets are wearing a collar with identification, for cats a breakaway collar can provide an identification without being a hazard
Halloween Chocolate & Candy:
Chocolate and candy are a danger to pets - dogs are much more prone to eating it, but cats might still chew on the colorful and interesting packaging. Ingesting candy wrappers can lead to choking or obstruction. Keep all candy covered and out of reach of dogs and cats.
Chocolate toxicity is no joke, but fairly common around Halloween. Never leave pets unattended with chocolate. If enough of the right kind of chocolate is eaten, it can be fatal to our pets.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Restlessness, Increased urination, Tremors, Elevated or abnormal heart rate, Seizures, Death
Xylitol is and an ingredient commonly found in sugar-free gum and candies. This ingredient is extremely toxic and life-threatening in dogs and cats.
Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning: Vomiting, Weakness, Lack of coordination or difficulty walking/standing, Lethargy, Tremors, Seizure, Coma, Death.
Halloween can be so much fun that sometimes we forget to consider our furry friends and what they need. But with a little planning and forethought, Halloween can be a fun holiday can be a safe and stress-free holiday for everyone!
If you notice candy is missing, or you see your dog or cat has eaten it, call your nearest 24-hour veterinary emergency clinic and/or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately.
Keep in mind they’ll need to know the amount and type of candy eaten. Do not induce vomiting, or give your pet anything orally unless directed by a veterinarian.