Fright Night: How To Practice Halloween Pet Safety
Ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, and the tricks and treats of Halloween are fun for adults and children alike. At this time of year, anticipation runs high as we approach this most beloved holiday. We spend hours planning our costume, making Halloween treats, and setting up our yard as a scary scene – but have you thought about what Halloween means for our pets?
There are several pet emergencies that are unfortunately common on or around Halloween. And the decorations, costumes, and candy can land your pet in a cauldron of hot water.
Like most things, a little awareness and preparation can make Halloween pet safety a breeze. Read on for some ideas and thoughts about how to make Halloween both fun for you and safe for your pets.
Tricks for Halloween Pet Safety
Here are some of the things to watch for when it comes to Halloween pet safety.
Treats. You may be thinking that candy is bad for pets, and you’d be right. Chocolate in particular is toxic to pets, and can cause GI upset, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and seizures. Sugar free candy often has xylitol, which can cause hypoglycemia, ataxia, and liver failure. Sugary and milk based treats cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Even candy wrappers like cellophane and aluminum foil can cause an intestinal obstruction if eaten. The bottom line: keep all candy and treats away from pets.
Decorations. Holiday decor can also pose quite the risk for pets. Power cords can cause entanglement or electrocution, light-up and animatronic displays can scare pets, and string spider webs can cause painful intestinal blockages if ingested. Keep Halloween decorations and pets apart.
Jack-o-lanterns. The iconic Halloween symbol of the jack-o-lantern is one that most of us enjoy, but a curious pet could knock it over, creating a fire hazard. There is also the risk of singed whiskers and burns if your pet peeks inside. Consider keeping jack-o-lanterns outside or, better yet, using LED lights instead of live flame.
Costumes. For some, planning the Halloween costume is one of the most fun parts of the holiday, but not all pets enjoy costumes. Never force your pet to wear a costume, and remove it immediately if she is pawing or chewing at it, or trying to wriggle out of it. Avoid masks and dangling parts, or costumes that restrict breathing or vision.
Unfortunately, one of the most common hazards of Halloween is that of pets getting lost. It’s all too easy for a pet to slip out the door while giving candy to trick-or-treaters, or to wriggle out of a costume. Some pets are stressed with the noise and general commotion and try to escape.
Your pet’s microchip ID is never more important than on this night. Have one placed, or check the registration to make sure the chip has your current contact information. Another great safeguard is a reflective collar with ID tags attached.
Safe And Sound
If your pet has a hard time with noise, scary costumes, and the constantly ringing doorbell, let them skip Halloween altogether. Set them up in a back bedroom, laundry room, or other cozy space. Include their bed, fresh water, treats, and toys. You can even treat them to some white noise and a food puzzle. Check on them often and offer lots of praise and snuggles. Some exercise before the festivities begin will help them stay relaxed.
We recommend keeping all pets indoors on Halloween from prior to dusk and throughout the night. Cats, especially black cats, can fall victim to senseless pranks. If you feel your pet may benefit from boarding with us for Halloween pet safety, please give us a call.
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About Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center
Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center provides top-quality veterinary care to the Rutland, VT pet community.