|Halloween Pet Safety|
|October 8, 2019|
The spookiest night of the year is almost here. It’s the time for ghouls, ghosts, and candy. And while mostly it’s all in good fun, it can be a dangerous time for our pets.
Halloween can be an especially dangerous time for cats. Black cats, in particular, can be targeted by neighborhood kids. They can be chased, shot at with BB guns, or otherwise messed with by kids looking to get into mischief. In our home, we make sure to lock our cats indoors from late afternoon until the next morning. They don’t like it much since they are indoor/outdoor and dusk is their favorite time of day, but it’s better than taking a chance of them being hurt.
Plus, the constant ringing of the doorbell can be pretty stressful for both cats and dogs. Most of our pets are highly attuned to and affected by the sound of our doorbell ringing. They can often go bonkers at just one ring, let alone a series of rings in a short amount of time. Set your pet up in a quiet back room with a radio or TV playing softly to drown out the noise. This will help keep them safe and calm during the peak hours of trick or treating.
Of course, most of us know that chocolate is toxic for dogs. But candy, in general, can cause a lot of gastrointestinal distress to our pets. Even though they don’t exactly seek out candy, dogs, in particular, will eat pretty much anything that catches their noses. That’s why it’s best to keep your Halloween candy stash out of your pet’s reach. Don’t forget to check out our post on Halloween Candy Safety for more details.
Decorations can pose threats with wires, ribbons and open flames in pumpkins. Make sure to keep an eye on your pets around any tricky decorations that could harm them. Also, if you’re going to dress up your pet it’s good to be aware of costume dangers.
Halloween is tons of fun for both children and adults, but it can be pretty confusing and a little scary for our pets. They don’t really understand what it is all about. Just think about what goes through the heads during Halloween. Why do their family members suddenly look so funny? What are all these crazy loud decorations that go “BOO!” and make creepy music when people walk by them? And why do all these strange people keep ringing the doorbell??? It’s no wonder that they need a little help staying safe during this spooky holiday.
5 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets
1. Stay Inside
The people, the costumes and the detour from daily routines make Halloween less enjoyable for our pets. Even mild-mannered dogs may find strangers in costume upsetting. Indoor and outdoor cats alike may also be frightened and could even suffer harm. Dr. McGowan advises planning ahead, just in case your pet gets out. “Make sure your pets have proper identification so if something happens and they’re found later, you can be contacted.”
There are plenty of lists explaining which foods your dog or cat shouldn’t eat, but they frequently leave off candy. Many pet parents know chocolate is a big no-no, but they fail to understand just how grave the consequences are if their pet eats candy. These could include vomiting, diarrhea and even poisoning. Even small amounts can be fatal, so it’s best to keep candy sealed and out of reach. If you want to celebrate with your pet, follow Dr. Becker’s Halloween pet safety tip and buy them specially made dog or cat treats for the occasion.
Even if you regularly host guests, odds are your doorbell never rings as much as it does on Halloween, which can be distressing for pets. To help your dog or cat feel more at ease with strangers at the door, start preparing them in advance. “Weeks ahead of Halloween, practice with your dog to create a positive association with the doorbell. Try ringing the doorbell before entering your own house and then reward your dog for not barking when you enter. You could also invite friends over and reward your pet with treats for not barking at the doorbell,” says Dr. McGowan.
Costumes are a fun way to celebrate, but not all pets enjoy dressing up. Dr. Becker says, “Pets typically don’t like costumes with elastic on top of the head or around the neck.” Instead, choose an easy-on, easy-off outfit that doesn’t constrict their head and neck. There are other Halloween pet safety considerations when it comes to costumes, like the material and whether it will cause your dog or cat to overheat. If you want your pet to partake in the holiday, take Dr. McGowan’s advice and choose a Halloween-themed collar and leash rather than a costume.
The above tips may help most pets, but some dogs and cats need a little more comfort than others. If your four-legged friend seems anxious or frightened by all the sights and sounds of the holiday, there are other solutions. If your pet benefits from soothing during storms or fireworks, you may already own a calming wrap. These products apply constant compression to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in cats and dogs. Dr. Becker also encourages pet parents to talk with their veterinarian about prescription products “to keep pets calm during hectic activities like Halloween.”
We know your pet’s safety is always a priority, which is why our experts have provided these Halloween pet safety tips, in addition to an array of other tips to keep your dogs and cats healthy. If you want to buy your pet a special treat so they’re included in your celebrations, explore our dog and cat treats.