You have purchased several bags of Halloween candy, the kids’ costumes are ready, a Jack-o-lantern is grinning on the porch, and your lawn has been transformed into a spooky graveyard. You may think you have checked everything off your Halloween to-do list, but did you remember to include your furry friends in the preparations? Halloween can be fun for people, but dangerous for pets. Check out these six pet Halloween safety tips for a scare-free good time.
#1: Check your pet’s ID
While your pet doesn’t have to worry about a bouncer carding them, they do need some form of ID in case they sneak out the open door to trick-or-treat on their own, or they are scared by a costume, decoration, or loud noise, and flee in a blind panic. On any given day, but especially on Halloween, ensure your pet is wearing a well-fitting collar with identification tags and is microchipped, to give them the best chance of being reunited with you should they become lost.
#2: Throw your pet their own Halloween party
Some outgoing pets love the idea of a hoard of new people at the door, but other, more reserved souls cannot bear the constantly ringing doorbell and procession of scary, costumed people. Stressed pets are more likely to try to escape, bite or scratch out of fear, or destroy your belongings, so those pets would prefer to stay in a quiet room, with their bed, favorite toys, and some soft music to drown out the Halloween hubbub. This also gives the introverted owner a guilt-free reason to escape the party and check on their pet.
#3: Don’t mix pets and decorations
Keep glow sticks, light-up decorations, and candles away from pets. The material in glow sticks is usually non-toxic, but the terrible taste will often cause pets who bite one to paw at their mouth, or drool excessively. A curious kitty or clumsy pup could also accidently chomp on an electrical cord, knock over a breakable item, or swallow a battery or decoration piece, all of which could be dangerous. Your pet may think the flickering jack-o-lantern candle flame is exciting, until they singe their whiskers, burn their feet, or knock the candle over and start a fire. If you don’t decorate for Halloween yourself, remember your neighbor’s scary set of Halloween yard decorations, and consider walking your skittish pet during the day, or avoiding the house entirely during the Halloween season.
#4: Hide the candy
Halloween candy is arguably one of the best parts about Halloween if you have a sweet tooth, but is also one of the biggest pet dangers. Chocolate, raisins, or xylitol-containing treats are toxic for pets, and although some candy is relatively safe, the wrappers can lodge in your pet’s stomach or intestines and require surgical removal. Keep an eye on the candy bucket when you are passing out treats or your kids are enthusiastically surveying their haul, and store all candy out of your pet’s reach. In the name of keeping your pet safe, feel free to eat some of the chocolate while you are hiding the bucket—after all, better it be in your stomach than your pet’s, and your kids probably won’t miss a few pieces. However, if your pet does get into the candy stash, immediately call Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, or Pet Poison Helpline for advice.
#5: Plan pet costumes carefully
Dressing your Great Dane like a horse to complement your child’s cowboy costume, turning your dachshund into a hotdog, or humiliating your cat with a shark outfit may sound like fun, but not all pets are cut out for costumes. Always do a trial run before the big day to ensure the costume is well-tolerated, fits correctly, and doesn’t obscure your pet’s vision, or hinder their movement or breathing. Costumes should not include pieces like buttons or ribbons that your pet can easily chew or swallow, or could become a choking or strangulation hazard. Never force your pet to wear a costume—let them have a low-key Halloween dressed in their own skin, and dress up a stuffed animal instead.
#6: Don’t leave pets unattended outside
Some people celebrate Halloween with pranks, mischief, or more sinister activities. Pets left unattended in yards could be intentionally or unintentionally set free, stolen, or injured. The safest place for your pet, especially if you have a black cat, is inside the house with you.
Hopefully, you will make some good Halloween memories with your pet this year. However, if they get into a bit of Halloween trouble and give you a scare, give us a call. Our Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital team is here for you and your pet seven days a week.