Halloween Pet Safety
Halloween is a fun time for families and children, but for pets it can be a scary and unsafe time of year. And remember – many Halloween pet dangers are lurking all month long. Keep your pets’ safety in mind the entire Halloween season, not just on October 31st! Here are some tips to keep your dogs and cats safe this Halloween season:
- Halloween treats are toxic to pets! Chocolate of all kinds, but especially baking or dark chocolate, is dangerous, and can even be lethal to dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate positioning may include: diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate, rapid breathing and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, followed by loss of coordination and seizures. If you think your dog or cat might have had access to any type of candy and is exhibiting any of these symptoms, take them to your vet right away.
- Don’t leave your pets in the yard alone. It is very sad, but extremely true that vandals and pranksters have been known annoy, steal, injure, or even worse – kill – pets on Halloween night. Black cats are especially at risk for this type of abuse around Halloween. Keep all of your pets inside and safe throughout the entire Halloween season, not just on October 31st.
- Keep your pets away from open doors on Halloween night. If you hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, your front door will be open a whole lot more than usual on Halloween. Keep your pets secure and away from the front door to keep them from darting out the front door and getting lost. If your pets are prone to running out the door, keep them in a closed bedroom for the evening, or consider skipping handing out the candy.
- Speaking of trick-or-treaters, if your pet gets scared or anxious when visitors approach your home, or when someone knocks or rings the doorbell, you may choose not to hand out candy at all on Halloween. Leave a note on your door asking trick-or-treaters not to knock or ring the bell, to keep your pet(s) anxiety-free. Consider a low-key night watching movies in bed with your pet, with the bedroom door closed, to keep them as far from the noise of trick-or-treaters as possible.
- Keep all lit jack-o-lanterns and electric decorations out of reach of your pets. Jack-o-lanterns with an open flame obviously increase the risk of your pets burning themselves. Electric decorations have cords that can cause electric shock if a pet chews on them. Battery-operated decor is safer than open flames or electricity, but remember that any items in your home that seem new to your pets may spark their interest. Ingesting pieces of plastic or glass can be extremely harmful to your pets. Consider your pets’ safety while shopping for your Halloween decorations!
- Kids in costume may scare your dogs or cats! Secure your pets away from trick-or-treaters if you think they might get scared. Also, don’t dress up yourself if you think the costume might scare your pet.
- Don’t dress your pets up in Halloween costumes unless you know they will love it! Avoid costumes that are potentially dangerous or just annoying to them. Have your pets try their costumes on before the big night so you can make sure it fits properly and remove any annoying pieces if needed. Also, wearing their costume a few times before Halloween night may get them more used to the costume, and help them to enjoy it and consider it a game.
- Keep seasonal plants and decor such as pumpkins, corn and hay bales away from your pets. While cooked pieces of pumpkin and corn are fine in small amounts for many pets, ingesting uncooked, potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn can cause major gastrointestinal problems.
- Make sure your pets have on their up-to-date collars and ID tags! If your pets do escape on Halloween night, or at anytime, identification tags and chips are the best way to get them home safely.