October marks the beginning of fall. This means cool nights, colder temperatures, and who can forget, Halloween! It is a time for our kids to become two legged monsters, ghouls, superheroes, and princesses, to enjoy friends, trick-or-treating and lots of candy. But what about our four legged kids? Loud noises, poisonous foods, and hazardous decorations are just a few reasons to keep an eye on your pet over the holiday. To insure everyone has a “fiendishly” good time here are suggestions for keeping your pet safe on Halloween.
Sweets and treats are for the kids not your pets. This is one of the most common traumatic accidents that can happen to your pet on Halloween. Chocolate especially can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health. Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures and even death. The ingredient that is most harmful to pets is theobromine. If your pet has consumed a large amount of chocolate or any other sweet, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Is your pet an escape artist? Watch them! With trick-or-treaters coming and going all night you will probably be opening your front door many times. The constant screaming and/or costumes could possibly induce stress for your pet. Constantly check for your pet each time you open and close your door and be sure that your pet has identification tags should they take off after Dracula. Additionally, know your pet’s tolerance for strangers at the door. Even the most familiar faces will be strange to your pet with masks and makeup. Isolate your pet in a closed room if you know it will be a disturbance to your visitors.
Be considerate of your pet if you dress them up in costumes. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners will spend over $200 million this season on holiday costumes for pets, dressing up almost 11.5% of their furry friends. Costumes that limit mobility or visibility for an animal will certainly not make your pet happy. Depending on your dog’s breed and size, delicate costumes with beads and decorations should be closely monitored to make sure pets do not ingest things that they shouldn’t.
Costumes are cute, but be careful! Let’s face it, everyone loves a cute pet costume but make sure your pet does too! Make sure the costume does not limit their movement, comfort, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. Introduce them to the costume at home before Halloween so you can observe their behavior, ensure they are comfortable and be sure the costume does not restrict their movement.
For those pet owners living in warmer climates, the costume should not overheat your dog.
Remember a simple Halloween bandana might be a better idea than dressing your pet from head to tail.
In all cases, don’t remove your pet’s collar with its ID tag. Make sure your contact information is current for your pet’s microchip just in case a scary moment allows for a dash into the dark.
Don’t let decorations lead to disasters. Be careful with Jack-O-Lanterns and candles. They can easily be pushed over or burn your pet if left in reach. Also, wires and chords for decorations could be harmful. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock. A bit of common sense goes a long way when it comes to pet safety.
Cat owners need to especially watch for wrappers: Cats love to play with a lot of things they shouldn’t; this is no different for candy wrappers. (I catch my cat Noodles playing with wrappers all the time) If a cat ingests aluminum foil or cellophane it can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting or worse.
Trick or Treating
If your pet accompanies you and your friends or children, have an adult hold the leash. Children as so distracted during this ritual and should not be given the responsibility of holding the family dog during the trek for treats.
Use a non-retractable, traditional leash which will provide more control over your dog’s behavior.
Also, keep your dog on the street while your tricksters go to the door to get their treats. This will help to avoid any chance meetings with another pet residing in the treater’s house.
Being responsible with your furry children doesn’t mean they can’t have fun! A great idea is to keep your pets treats handy for when they want to indulge as well. Pet safety is always important, but especially during spooky times like Halloween!