How to Keep Your Dog & Cat Safe This Halloween
Written by Seana K. Davidson, PhD
Published on October 25, 2018, Updated on October 23, 2019
Halloween is almost here—many of us enjoy this haunting holiday but our pets often find it truly scary. The things that make Halloween fun for us humans like frightening sounds or trick-or-treaters at the door in costumes may overwhelm our furry companions. And some elements of Halloween can pose safety risks for our pets. Below we’ve provided a few tips to help your pet have a safe and stress-free Halloween.
Here are 6 important pet Halloween safety tips to keep in mind when planning your festivities.
1. Be Cautious Of Pet Costumes.
For many pets wearing a costume may cause undue stress. If you dress up your pet and they don't seem distressed, be sure the costume is safe. It should fit well without restricting movement or ability to breathe, drink and eat. The ASPCA recommends doing a test run of the costume before the big night. Ensure there are no dangly bits the pet can chew off - these pose choking and blockage hazards. And avoid leaving your pet unattended while they are wearing their costume. If they get tangled, or have a problem, you want to be there to fix it.
For many pets their everyday fur coat may be best or a festive bandana scarf might do just the trick for a little added Halloween flair.
2. Create A Calm And Cozy Space For Your Furbaby.
Trick or treat! Door bells, doors opening and closing, costumes, and scary faces can frighten your pets. If you dog is relaxed and friendly with a variety of people, it might be fine to have them greet people with you at the door.
However, if your dog shows stranger anxiety, create a cozy confined place for them in a room to wait out the parade of ghouls, ghosts, and princess fairies. Turn on music, tv or white noise to help calm or distract your dog or cat.
3. Ensure Your Pets Are Easily Identifiable If They Go Missing.
Many pets go missing during holidays. With all of the excitement they can easily slip out an open door. Make sure your pet is wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.
Many lost pets are never returned to their pet parents because the microchip information wasn’t registered or updated after leaving the shelter.
Registering your pet’s microchip is free and easy: https://www.foundanimals.org/microchip-registry/.
If you know your pet will be stressed by Halloween activities, it's best to keep them in a cozy room during trick or treat time to keep them safe, and happy.
4. Keep Candy And Candy Wrappers In A Secure Place Out Of Your Pet’s Reach.
Ah, the chocolate, fruit chews, peanut butter cups, and random gum—your dog or kitty might love to eat them! Chocolate is toxic for dogs and cats, and so is xylitol, the artificial sweetener in gum or sugarless candy. Signs of toxicity in your pet may include vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperactivity or restlessness. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic contact your veterinarian right away. Also, the ASPCA Poison Control Center offers useful information.
Even candy wrappers pose a serious risk for choking and intestinal blockage in pets. It’s a good idea to keep the sweets and wrappers out of reach and away from pets. Instead you can provide them with their own appropriate pet treats.
5. Beware Of Candles And Dangerous Decorations.
Like many autumn and winter holidays, Halloween involves candles. As an alternative to candles, use LED lights in pumpkins to help prevent fires, and lights in windows instead of large candles. Pets are curious, and can tip over candles, and get tangled in decorations. Keep decorations out of reach and remember that cats can reach those higher shelves that are out of reach of the dog.
6. If You Take Your Dog Trick Or Treating Keep Track Of Glow Sticks And Dropped Candy.
If your dog is well trained, good on a leash, not easily agitated, and is used to going trick or treating, you can likely take him or her with you. However, there are risks. They may eat dropped candy, and dogs sometimes chew on glow sticks. If glow sticks leak (although likely not toxic), they pose a choking hazard and may cause your dog to drool profusely. Instead use a pet safe light on your dog to ensure he or she is visible in the dark.
We hope you find this information useful. Wishing you and yours a spook-cat-ular & safe Howl-o-ween!
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