Halloween can be a stressful time for pets. Most veterinary practices see an increase in visits at this time of year. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind to keep your pet safe this Halloween.
- Let’s face it: It’s a sad fact that there are pranksters out there who enjoy doing mean things to pets on Halloween. Cats are especially at risk. If you have outdoor cats and ESPECIALLY black cats, I suggest keeping them indoors where they will be safe on Halloween. Pets have been teased, abused, stolen, and even killed on Halloween.
- Opening your door multiple times to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters can make it easy for your pet to dart out the door. Consider keeping them in a back room and away from the door on Halloween night.
- Halloween can be a spooky and scary time for your pet. Doorbells ringing and spooky loud, and excited children dressed in scary costumes can frighten animals and even make the nicest of dogs more likely to bite. Again, consider keeping them in a back room away from all the commotion. Playing some soothing background music or having a TV on may help drown out some of the noise.
- Make sure your pets ID tags or are up to date on Halloween just in case they do happen to escape out the door. The number of lost pets increases around Halloween and up to date ID tags as well as microchipping your pet increase the chances of them being returned to you.
- Keep candy away from pets, especially chocolate which can be toxic to dogs and cats. Also sugar-free candy and gum with Xylitol can be highly toxic as well. Even non-toxic treats in excess can cause stomach upsets and vomiting and diarrhea.
- I’m not a big advocate of pet costumes on Halloween but if you do dress your animal up, make sure your animal is not stressed by it (and believe it or not, most animals HATE being put in costumes). If you do dress your pet up, make sure the costume is not constrictive in any way and doesn’t interfere with their vision, breathing, or their ability to bark or meow. The simpler the better. Some costumes contain accessories that can be easily chewed off that can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Some animals can even be allergic to the dyes in costumes. Costumes really can cause a lot of undue stress to animals and most costumes only serve to make your pet uncomfortable and can even be dangerous to your animal. Is it really worth it?
- Pets and candles don’t mix. Cats and kittens are particularly curious around candle flames so keep them away from pets. Watch pets around Jack-o-lanterns if you use a candle to light Jack up. I’ve seen many a cat who got their whiskers singed and melted off by candles on Halloween.
- Fake blood and even some glow stick chemicals can be toxic to pets. Even glow sticks labeled as non-toxic can be very bitter-tasting and cause heavy salivation and hyperexcitability in pets.
- Keep wires and electrical cords out of the reach of pets. If pets chew on them, electrical shock can be the result.
- If your pet is known to get extremely stressed out on Halloween (it is the second most stressful “holiday” for pets with the fourth of July being the first), talk to your veterinarian about a sedative for your pet.
Have a safe, fun, and Happy Halloween and let’s remember to take especially good care of our four-legged friends!!