Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Owners
It’s that time of year again – a time when people put on their creepiest costumes and go out into the night in search of candy and fun. But as fun as Halloween is for people, it can be actually scary for their pets. Halloween is full of stressful and even dangerous situations for your animals. Here are a few things you should do to make sure they enjoy the day as much as you do.
Bring Your Pets Inside
Some kids, and even adults, take the “trick” part of “trick or treat” to heart and spend Halloween pulling pranks. Sometimes their targets will be defenseless animals who are left unattended outside. These animals could be teased, injured, stolen, or even killed. This is especially true for black cats. Though the old stories of black cats being intentionally hunted and hurt on Halloween are mostly urban legends, it does still happen from time to time. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Even if everyone is on their best behavior, your pets may still be frightened to see so many people in scary masks walking around the house after dark. Keep your pets inside on Halloween night, and the nights before and after, so that they’ll be safe and comfortable.
Treats Are Not For Pets!
Chocolate, in particular, can be very, very dangerous for dogs and cats, and many Halloween candies contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol that is poisonous to dogs. Make sure you keep yours pets away from the Halloween candy at all times. Some of the symptoms for chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, rapid breathing, diarrhea, a fast heart rate, and seizures. If you think your pet has eaten some Halloween candy and is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your vet right away.
And it isn’t just chocolate you have to worry about. Your pets might also be tempted to try to eat Halloween or Fall decorations, like corn and pumpkins. These aren’t toxic (though they may be coated in something toxic, so be careful) but they can still cause upset stomachs and even blockage if they eat bigger pieces.
Keep Your Pets Away From the Door
Your home is your pet’s sanctuary, and anything that appears to threaten your home can be very stressful to them. Imagine what Halloween is like from your pet’s point of view. Every few minutes, somebody pounds on the door, then the door is opened to reveal a group of loud, scary-looking, strange-smelling strangers, reaching through the doorway. For a territorial dog, this can make them aggressive. They may bark, growl, or even try to attack your trick or treaters. For a cat, this may be terrifying, and they could run and hide – they may even run out the open door into the night. Whatever your pet’s personality, it can be a very stressful time. Unless you know for sure that trick or treaters won’t bother your pet, you may want to consider putting them in a room away from the front door and keeping them there until all the candy is gone and the porch light is turned off.
Be Careful With Lighting
Christmas isn’t the only holiday with festive decorations anymore. Now, many people like to use Halloween as an excuse to lavishly decorate their home with creepy props and moody lighting. Just be wary of the dangers. Lit jack-o-lanterns and candles can be knocked over by a pet, causing a fire, and long, unguarded electrical cords can be chewed, leading to a risk of electrocution. Make sure you keep an eye on your furry loved ones.
Be Considerate With Costumes
Let’s face, you probably look cool and scary in your Halloween costume this year, but your pet looks absolutely adorable in theirs. It’s hard to compete with a cute pet in just the right costume. But please. before you dress your dog up and take it trick-or-treating, make sure that they’ll enjoy what they’re wearing as much as you do. Wearing a restrictive outfit can cause a great deal of stress to a pet, especially if it makes it difficult to walk, breathe, hear, see, or bark/meow. If you have a costume in mind, put it on them a night or two before Halloween and see how they react. Take them for a walk. If they seem uncomfortable at all, it might be best to just let them enjoy the holiday au naturale.
Just be patient and considerate with your animals during the big day and they should be content, comfortable, and safe. Enjoy yourselves out there, and have a Happy Howl-oween!