Halloween is a fun time for kids and families. Fun costumes, dark and spooky haunted houses, lots of treats and candies. As fun as it is for people, it can be a nightmare for your pets. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your pets safe during the spookiest time of the year.
1. Chocolates of any kind (dark, milk, white, baking) can be dangerous and potentially lethal to pets. Keep candy, bowls full of candy, and packages of candy out of reach of your pet. When the trick or treater children come home for the night, make sure their bounty of candy is stashed away from your pet's reach. Click here for the symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Another danger is xylitol, a sweetener that is used in some sugar free candy and peanut butters. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. (There may be a charge for this call)
2. If you plan on hosting a pet centric Halloween gathering, expect some canine trick or treaters at your door, or just want something festive and in the spirit of the season to give to your pets, many pet treat manufacturers make Halloween themed treats that are available at the big box pet stores, Target, Amazon, etc. There are several healthier choices and some include pumpkin which is a good source of fiber for your pet. Pictured above are a few that we like to give to our dogs.
3. Bring cats and dogs inside on Halloween. Don't leave your pets out in the yard on Halloween night. Trick or Treaters can open gates and accidentally let out dogs (or tricksters can do it on purpose), there will be more passerby than normal that could tease, annoy, injure, or let out your pet. And if you have a black cat, they could be especially prone to tricks on Halloween night. As always, make sure your pets have collars with I.D. tags on them at all times with your current information, and are microchipped in the event they do get out. That information will help increase the odds they will be returned to you when they are found.
4. If you are at home passing out candy to trick or treaters, you will be opening and closing the door all night. Keep your pets inside and either in a crate or in a closed off room to prevent them from escaping. Some dogs become territorial and protective of their home. Keeping them confined will prevent them from growling or nipping at an innocent trick or treater. If the sound of the doorbell or knocking on the door sets them off, keep a TV or radio on in the room they are in to try and minimize their excitement. Again, keep collars and I.D. tags on them in the event they do escape.
5. If you normally take your dog for an evening walk, take her out earlier, before the rush of trick or treaters. Strange, dark costumes, hoods and masks, loud noises, play swords and fake guns can all cause undue stress for your dog. While walking your dog, the leash can cause a tripping hazard to children with limited fields of view caused by their masks.
6. If you are dressing up your pet, please make sure they are comfortable and it fits well. Make sure the costume doesn't restrict their movement, and that there are no small pieces that could be chewed off or become choking hazards.
7. Keep an eye on decorations. Carved pumpkins are fun and festive. Be careful of pumpkins that are lit with candles. They could be easily knocked over by a pet and start a fire, they could burn your pet, and the flickering may prove very tempting to kittens.
8. If you want your dog to greet people at the door with you, keep him on a leash, and put a dog gate across the doorway to prevent an escape. Keep his collar on with I.D. and have them microchipped.
9. If you have children, make sure that they understand how important it is that they don't give your pets any candy they received. Chocolate is dangerous to pets, and some items can be choking hazards or cause blockages. It is also important that they pick up all empty wrappers. There can be melted chocolate left on the wrapper, and the wrapper can be a choking hazard.
Halloween is a fun time of year. In many ways, it is the kick off to the holiday season in the United States. Following the above tips can help keep your pet safe and sound during this time. The most important things to remember are to keep chocolate away from your pet, have them microchipped and with I.D. tags on collars, and if possible, keep your pets inside and confined for safety.