Halloween Safety & Your Pets – 7 Ways to Keep Them Safe
The ghosts and goblins are about to hit the streets! Halloween is upon us with all of it’s fun. And if you have pets, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure you have a safe and happy Halloween.
1. Candy – It’s not a treat for your pets!
Halloween candy is absolutely the best! My sister and I used to divvy up our haul and swap for our favorites. But for pets, candy is definitely not something your pet should share about this holiday.
Chocolate in any form-milk chocolate, dark chocolate, baking chocolate…NO chocolate is safe for your pets. Signs of chocolate poisoning, according to the AVMA are rapid breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures.
Sugar free candy contains a chemical called Xylitol. It’s what makes the candy sweet. But for pets, it causes rapid drop in blood sugar. The AVMA notes that this can result in liver failure, loss of coordination and seizures.
Your pet is already wearing his costume! And it looks adorable on him! The pet industry has really stepped up their game on pet costumes. They are fun and creative. But as fun as they may be your pet may not agree with you. If your dog or cat are not used to being dressed up, being in a costume can be stressful for some pets. Costumes can be binding or uncomfortable. They can restrict movement. If the costume includes a mask, that can obstruct vision and breathing, which will create stress for your pet.
If you choose to get a costume for your pet – and they really can be adorable! – give it a go well before the day so you have time to see how your pet does with the costume. How well do they move with the costume on? Does it obstruct vision? Do they have trouble breathing with it? Make sure they can take care of potty needs while wearing it.
Some pets just love to chew on things – especially new things. You’ll want to make sure that there is no part of the pet’s costume that can get in their mouth or that they can get entangled in. Everything is fun…until somebody gets hurt!!
3. Glow Sticks
Glow sticks are wonderful. They help you stand out and be noticeable in the dark. You can put them on your pet’s collar, on your costume. They are a great addition to Halloween, as long as they are not eaten. Glow sticks contain a liquid that, while not poisonous, tastes terrible and will make your pet ill. If ingested, the AVMA notes that your pet may paw at their mouth, become agitated or vomit. Fresh water, or a small meal are recommended to help get the taste out of your pet’s mouth.
4. Halloween Decorations
Halloween decorations and decor have come a long way! All the stores have some of the cutest things to make your home Halloween party ready. Some of them are wood, some have twigs. They have incredible lighting and all sorts of things to make the spooky spectacular. And there is always the energetic and playful dog or cat who think these are all there for their enjoyment! They are all fun to play with, fun to chew, and some think they are treats. Electric candles can do quite a number on your pet. If something is ingested, it will not end well.
Halloween plants age. Pumpkins, corn and gourds will get moldy over time. If your pets get into these, it will make them ill.
It’s just best to keep the Halloween decorations and plants out of the way for your pets all together.
5. Trick or Treat!
The funnest part of Halloween is all the Trick or Treaters that come to the door. Those little punkins are just too adorable!
But there are lots of people knocking on the door or ringing the bell. It starts early in the evening and, in some neighborhoods; continues well into the evening.
If you have a pet that reacts to the door and visitors, advance precautions will be your friend. Kennel your cat or dog to keep them from charging the door – or worse running out of the door and into the night.
Even pets who are usually calm and cool when visitors knock may become afraid or nervous with the amount of traffic at your door and all the costumes. They may be used to people visiting, but I’m pretty sure that Spiderman, the Fairly Godmother, Witches and Batman and all the little ghosties that will knock are not what your pet is used to seeing. And a pet who is afraid doesn’t always react as you would expect them too. They may be fearful enough to snap at little ones, and that is never fun.
6. Keep Your Pets Inside
Halloween is a ton of fun, but not everybody is out to have a good time. Sadly, there are people who are just plain mean. If your pet is out running the streets, they are at greater risk of being hit by a car, taken, or harmed by party-goers bent on causing problems.
This is especially true if you have a black cat or dog. Halloween is the one night your pets should be kept in doors throughout the night. Take them on a walk in your back yard or keep them on a leash to ensure they stay safe!
7. Ensure Your Pet has ID
If your pet has not already been ‘chipped’, now is the time to do it. It’s a quick visit to the vet. A unique identifier that is detectable with a special scanner is injected into the scruff of your pet’s neck. If lost,, your pet can be taken to any veterinarian or shelter and scanned for this chip. Your contact information is registered into the system and you can be contacted and reunited with your beloved pet. The only trick of the microchip is in making sure that once done, you register the unique identifier with the system – easily done on line. Also, if you move or change contact information, you want to make sure to update your details in their system. Ensuring your pet is micro chipped is also critically important if you live in an area that experiences severe storms such as hurricanes or fires where you may have to evacuate and possibly be separated from your pet during the event.
A collar with an ID tag is also always a good idea for quick and easy identification, but these come off or are removed. It makes the microchip so much more important as it is irrefutable identification of your pet if they become lost or taken.
IF THE WORST SHOULD HAPPEN
The best Halloween is a safe and fun Halloween. But if the worst should happen and your pet eat something that could harm them, the following resource can literally be lifesavers:
ASPCA Poison Hotline: (888) 426-4435
Know where the emergency veterinary center is near your home. Ideally, they will be open 24 hours. These people are absolutely amazing! I have seen them do some amazing things. Hopefully, you will never need them, but know where they are and have their phone number and directions handy for just those times when minutes count.
Halloween can be fun
with your pet. Time together. Time to just enjoy. Hopefully, these few tips give you enough information to help the holiday be fun and not turn into a horror.