Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but keeping your pet’s safe doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are some tips to help keep your animals safe on this haunting evening.
- Trick or treat sweets are not for pets:
All forms of chocolate (especially baking or dark chocolate) can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures. Halloween candies/sweets can contain artifical sweetner Xylitol which can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. Xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, but it’s better to be safe then sorry.
- Don’t leave pets out in the yard/garden on halloween:
Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal and even kill pets on Halloween. Inexcusable? yes! But preventable nonetheless. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. Make sure your pets are safely housed indoors around halloween.
- Keep pets confined and away from the door:
Indoors is certainly better than outdoors on Halloween, but your door will probably be constantly opening and closing, and strangers will be on your doorstep, dressed in unusual costumes. This, of course can be scary for our furry friends, which can result in escape attempts or unexpected aggression. Putting your dog or cat in a secure crate or room away from the front door will reduce stress and prevent them from darting form the house into the night…… a night when no one wants to out searching for a lost loved one.
- Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins out of reach:
While small amounts of pumpkin can be fed safely to some pets, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins can cause big problems. Gastrointestinal upset is a possibilty whenever pets eat something they aren’t used to, intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed. So, keep pumpkins out of reach from your pets.
- Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets:
If you are using candles to light your pumpkins or other halloween decorations, make sure to place them well out of reach of your pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or causing a fire.
- Keep electric and battery-powered halloween decorations out of reach:
Electric and battery-powered halloween decorations are certainly safer than open candles, but they can still present a risk to pets. Pets who chew on electrical cords can receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock or burn. Batteries may cause chemical burns when chewed open or gastrointestinal blockage if swallowed.
- Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it:
If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t dangerous or simply annoying to your pet. Costumes should not restrict movement, hearing, eyesight, being able to eat and drink or the ability to breathe freely. Pets wearing a costume should always be supervised by a responsible adult so that if something does go wrong it can be addressed right away. If your pet seems distressed or develops skin problems from contact with the costume, consider letting him go in his “birthday suit”.
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having their proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be returned. Collars and tags with phone numbers on are ideal, if a good samaritan finds your pet, they can ring you asap but microchips offer permanent identification should the collar or tag fall off. Just ensure that the information is up-to-date. Use Halloween as a yearly reminder to double check your phone numbers on tags and confirm correct deatils with the company your pet’s microchip is registered with.
By taking a few simple precautions, everyone, humans and animals alike, can have a safe and happy halloween.