Halloween can be a fun holiday for the whole family–but pets may not enjoy the costumes, the candy crush, or the endless ringing doorbell. Below are a few tips to keep everyone safe and happy.
Pets in costumes—it’s a fun new trend, though, certainly, more fun for the humans! Our patient pets usually humor us and tolerate their Halloween costume photo shoot. The ASPCA has a few Halloween tips for pet owners to keep everyone (furry and not) safe, spooky, and happy; we have summarized their top ten list for today’s blog post:
1. Candy is for humans only. Chocolate—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous if ingested by both dogs and cats. In addition, candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol may cause intestinal problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, seek veterinary treatment immediately.
2. Keep decorations up and away from pets. Most fall décor and plants, such as pumpkins and decorative corn, are considered to be nontoxic, however, they may produce stomach upset in pets. Keep them out of reach just to be safe.
3. Electrical wires and cords should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet may suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. Burning candles can be dangerous for pets. A burning candle in a jack-o-lantern could be knocked over and cause a fire. Curious kittens run an especially high risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Costumes may be stressful for your pet–your dog may prefer his/her “birthday suit.” If your pet seems distressed, allergic, or shows abnormal behavior, simplify to a bandana or a decorative collar.
6. Use costumes carefully. If you do dress up your pet, ensure the costume is safe; it should not constrict movement, sight, or hearing, or impede his/her ability to breathe, bark, or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night.
7. Costume accessories or fit could be a hazard. Inspect your pet’s costume for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that could be a choking hazard. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on furry pet bodies or stuck on external objects as your pet is moving.
8. Visitors at the door. As the doorbell starts ringing with human ghosts and goblins, secure your pets in a safe room. Strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. The mad dash. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, ensure that your pet does not dart outside in the dark.
10. Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, and greatly increase the chances that he/she will be returned to you.