Keeping Your Pets Safe This Halloween
The doorbell rings. The door opens. A kid in a Power Ranger mask is at the door – Trick or Treat!. He grabs a couple of pieces of candy, gives you a big thank you with a smile and the door shut once again, waiting for the next little princess or goblin to arrive.
Fun, right? Maaaaybe not for your pets… Halloween can be a bit spooky for dogs and cats alike in all the wrong ways. That’s not to say you can’t celebrate! Keep these five Halloween pet safety tips in mind while celebrating this year and have a safe, happy holiday.
Consider Keeping Pets in Another Room
One of the major dangers during Halloween festivities is the chance of an escaped pet. With the constant opening and closing of the front door comes ample opportunity for Fluffy or Fido to slip by. Even if your pets are not normally escapees, the costumes and constant commotion can make them anxious and act out of the ordinary.
Keeping your pets in a quiet, closed room with calm music playing, favorite toys and a treat can help alleviate anxiety and keep your furry crew safe and secure. If your dog is crate trained, this would be a great opportunity to let him settle into his “den” for the duration of the festivities.
Be sure to check out our post about lost pet prevention to learn about local resources in Connecticut and how to be sure you and your pet are reunited in the case of separation.
Beware the Chocolate
It is common knowledge that chocolate is bad for dogs. But did you know that cats are also susceptible to this toxicity? It is just less talked about since your cat is less likely to scarf down a chocolate bar the moment it hits the floor!
Theobromine and caffeine are both found in the sweet treat and can lead to lethal cardiac arrhythmia and dysfunction of the Central Nervous System. The amount of chocolate that can cause this toxicity depends on the type ingested as well as your
pet’s weight. A general overview can be found at PetMD’s Chocolate Toxicity Meter.
What happens if your pet ingests chocolate? First of all, stay calm and do not induce vomiting unless you have spoken with a professional. If you know how much your pet ingested, the chocolate calculator may be a good place to start. For example, your fifty pound dog eating a mini Twix bar will likely be just fine.
If the calculator suggests a dangerous level or you are unsure how much your pet has ingested, call your closest emergency vet. The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center is also an excellent resource.
Beware the Not-So-Chocolate
Surprise – danger also lurks in other Halloween treats. Just like it would not be good for our digestive systems to down two dozen bags of Skittles, it probably won’t make your dog feel very well, either.
In addition, sugar-free gum, peanut butter treats and other human candies may also contain xylitol. If enough is ingested, xylitol can lead to hypoglycemia and even liver failure.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a non-chocolate treat, take a look at the ingredient list. When in doubt, always call a professional!
There are few things cuter than a pet in a silly costume. We get it! Just make sure your pet’s Halloween Best doesn’t cause them distress. Watch for warning such as hissing, growling, a tucked tail or shaking. Sometimes pets don’t like to dress up and that is OK. Get them a spooky ghost bandanna or a cute orange collar instead. They will appreciate it!
If your pet is happy to sport a costume, be sure to keep a close eye on him. The costume fits well and does not restrict movement. Depending on how the costume goes on, it may be possible for him to get hooked on something accidentally or caught in a tooth during playtime with a sibling.
Costumes for pets’ humans counterparts can also be unnerving to a normally even tempered pet this time of year. If your pets are spooked by your costumes, consider them keeping them in another room when you are dressed up. Ignoring your pets’ signs of fear and anxiety put them in an uncomfortable, potentially dangerous situation.
“Don’t eat that!”
Halloween provides ample opportunity for foreign body ingestion. Candy wrappers, pieces of costumes, toys from Trick or Treating adventures and decorations are all ample opportunity for a mischievous pet to eat something they shouldn’t. Some things will pass through the digestive system without issue. Others can cause problems.
Signs of foreign body ingestion won’t appear immediately unless your pet is choking. Symptoms include anorexia (loss of appetite), vomiting, diarrhea, straining to poop and more. For more information on symptoms and treatment, check out this resource from VCA Hospitals.
If your pet has ingested something he shouldn’t have, contact an emergency veterinarian immediately. The vet can suggest a plan of action depending on what was ingested, when and how much.
Have a Safe, Happy Halloween!
Halloween can be a fun holiday to spend with your pets. Cute costumes, children laughing and spooky decorations – what’s not to love? Just be conscious of your pet’s safety and comfort this holiday. Keep these
Halloween pet safety tips in mind: consider keeping them safe in an enclosed room, keep an eye on treats (both chocolate and not), beware of costume safety and keep potential hazards out of paw’s reach. With your diligence and awareness, you and your pet will have many more Halloweens to come!
Do you have any Halloween pet safety tips to add? Comment below!