Is your favorite holiday Halloween? We love it too! But let’s think about the other members of your household. Children? Check! What kid doesn’t love getting gobs of candy while dressed up as their most-loved character? Dogs? Cats? Maybe not so much. Lots of visitors to the door, strange objects in the house, delicious but forbidden goodies—it can be a recipe for disaster. By following these 8 easy tips, you’ll make sure Halloween is safe and stress-free for your pets.
- The trick-or-treat bucket is for kids only.
All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Chocolate poisoning symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Beware Halloween candies containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. It’s not been proven to be toxic to cats at this point, but why risk it?
- Keep pets inside on Halloween.
It’s a sad fact that some people find it fun to tease, injure, steal, and/or kill pets on Halloween. Black cats are a common target. While this is a horrific practice, you can save your pets from this possibility by keeping them inside with favorite toys and a comfy bed.
- Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Here’s another reason to keep your pets in a back room of the house: Trick-or-Treaters. While us humans love to see these neighborhood kids in their fun costumes, it’s stressful for pets, especially dogs. The doorbell will constantly ring, the door will open to strangers dressed in costumes, and they’ll be yelling. That’s no fun for dogs! And whether you have canine or feline friends in the house, keeping them in a locked room will prevent them from panicking and running into the night. Halloween is not a night you want to be hunting for a lost pet.
- Tell your outdoor cats they’re grounded.
It’s by no fault of their own, of course. But for several days before and after Halloween, keep your cats inside, especially black ones. Did you know that many shelters do not put black cats up for adoption during October? There’s a (very sad and sinister) reason.
- Keep edible Halloween decorations out of reach.
Do you have a Labrador? A lab mix? Then you know they’ll eat just about anything! That includes things like your harvest corn wreath and your Jack o’lantern. While they may not be poisonous, your pet won’t be happy suffering the gastrointestinal upset caused by ingesting these plants.
- Use battery-powered candles in pumpkins.
You should do this anyway, instead of a lit candle, but especially if you have pets. Otherwise, there’s a real risk that pets can knock it over accidentally and cause a fire.
- Does your dog really want to be Wonder Woman?
If you are sure your pet needs a costume, make sure it isn’t uncomfortable or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow. And be honest with yourself—is your dog or cat hating the costume? Maybe try a festive bandana instead.
- Can I see your ID?
Before Halloween, make sure your pets’ tags have your current information on it, even if you have them microchipped. If they should escape, having proper ID will increase their chances of return. Think about also getting one of those lighted collars for your pet, too. This can help cars and people see them.
© Russ Ensley | Dreamstime.com – Dachshund Dressed In Hot Dog Costume For Halloween