Keep Your Critters Safe This Halloween
Halloween is creeping up on us and while it can be a spooky good time for most of us, our pets can quickly find themselves in a dangerous situation. We want to help keep your furry friends safe. If you have a pet, here are a few tips to consider this Halloween.
Tricks but Not Treats
Candy might be a treat for you. Pets, however, should steer clear. Most candy is toxic to animals but especially watch out for chocolate, gum, and xylitol. From the time it enters your home until the time the trick-or-treaters lug it off, your Halloween candy should always be out of reach of pets. (Ideally locked in a cabinet)
It is a great time to remind your children that pets cannot have candy. Well-meaning kids are prone to make the honest yet harmful mistake of sharing their loot with their furry friends. Make sure they know the difference between a safe and unsafe pet treat.
Another cautionary treat tale: Keep Your Eyes On The Pumpkins.
Small amounts of pumpkin can be good for dogs and cats, but too much pumpkin might cause digestive issues for them. Certainly don’t let your pet near rotting pumpkins which may harbor bad bacteria. If you live in Texas, you know how quickly a jack-o-lantern can start to decompose. Keep those pets and pumpkins separated!
Pro Tip: Have some special pet treats or chew toys on hand so your pet friends have something safe to munch on.
Spooky Decorative Dangers
It is a good idea to think twice before putting up Halloween decorations indoors. Be aware of which decorations pose threats. Some hazards will be obvious such as real candles. Other not so obvious and potentially dangerous decorations include things-they-might-chew-and-choke-on such as rubber eyeballs, poisonous fake blood, and decorative spider webs that could choke or entangle our little furry friends.
Even organic and edible decorations such as pumpkins and corn are considered relatively nontoxic but can quickly become a problem if too much is ingested.
Pro Tip: Create DIY decorations that are pet-friendly. Such as a haunted house out of cardboard boxes that your cat can play in or put treats and toys in a simple paper bag for a pet version of trick-or-treating.
Be Careful with Costumes
Some of us wouldn’t dream of putting our pets in a costume. And… Some of us just can’t resist transforming Fluffy into a princess or Scruffy into a fireman. The costumes are so cute!
Yes, they are. We get it. But proceed with caution.
If you do choose a costume for your pet, first think about your pet’s personality. Will they be able to tolerate a costume? If so, for how long? Masks that fit around the face and neck, for example, might work for the length of time it takes to snap a quick photo, but they can pose dangers if worn for an extended period of time.
Also, you don’t want to stress your pet out.
Keep an eye on your costumed pet to make sure they are comfortable and able to move about freely. Also, be sure to remove any chewable parts that could come off and choke your pet.
If your pet does seem uncomfortable or show signs of distress, go ahead and take the costume off. You tried.
Pro tip: Try on the costume before the big night. If your pet shows signs of discomfort or distress, you should probably skip the costume.
Keep Them Calm and Indoors
With so many people coming and going, ringing the doorbell, and different activities taking place, Halloween can be very stressful for some pets.
If your pup is likely to try to run out the front door and is comfortable in a crate, consider putting them in the crate with a treat-filled toy and some soft music playing in the background.
A new chew toy or scratching post can help keep cats calm. You might even consider a calming spray.
Minimize noise by sitting outside to keep trick-or-treaters from knocking on the door or ringing the bell.
Even if you are just having friends over for a Halloween party, keep your pets away from the festivities in a safe, contained spot. Masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people may become frightening.
When going out trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion, and a bite or a lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun.
You will definitely want to bring your pets indoors before night falls. Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween, it’s especially important to secure all pets inside so they don’t run away out of fear of adults and children in costumes.
Pro Tip: Be sure your pet is wearing proper identification. If they do dart out of an open door, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver.
With a little extra attention and a special treat or two, you and your pets should have a happy and safe Halloween.