Halloween is a fun time of year where humans and animals alike can get dressed up and go door-to-door asking for treats. What could be better?!
This exciting time of year is not without its hazards, however, particularly for our four-legged friends.
Here are a few things to watch out for so you and your precious pet can stay safe while enjoying everything the season has to offer.
1. Say No To Candy
(for your pets anyway)
If there is one thing dogs love, it’s getting into the food they should not be getting into!
Sometimes this just means you have to cook another meatloaf or make another sandwich. But when it comes to the delicious chocolates and other candies that abound during Halloween, it’s especially important to keep your pets away from the candy bowl. Candy is one of those things that your pet’s digestive system is not meant to handle.
Without the opposable thumbs required to unwrap the little goodies, your pet will just gobble the whole thing, sticks, wrappers and all. Not only can these be choking hazards, but they can also cause blockages in places where there are not meant to be blockages and can even lead to very expensive surgery and a lot of discomfort and ongoing medical issues.
Some candies, such as chocolate or raisins can be fatal for both dogs and cats. So keep candy bowls, bags and boxes well out of reach of your pet.
If you’re worried your furry pal has taken a treat from your Halloween haul, be sure to keep an eye out for symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, increased heart rate and tremors, and call your veterinarian immediately if you see any of these signs.
We recommend having a stockpile of pet-friendly treats ready for any four-legged trick-or-treaters that come to your door. And be sure to save some for your own furry friend as well.
2. Dress With Care
Of course, you can’t have Halloween without costumes. It’s fun to find the perfect outfit for your furry friend and then get as many pictures a possible before they wriggle out of it. While getting a costume that fits your pet’s personality is important, and even bigger priority is safety.
It’s important to make sure that your costume has enough room around the neck, tail and leg holes that nothing is too tight. We don’t want any circulation being cut off or for your pet to get pinched.
A good rule of thumb (or dewclaw as the case may be) is to allow a two-finger width of breathing room around the neck and make sure there is nothing obstructing your pet’s vision.
Other things to watch for would be to make sure there is nothing your pet can chew off of the costume and choke on such as sequins, bobbles or even strings they can possibly trip on.
Not all animals are comfortable in a costume though. Never force an outfit on and if they try to wriggle free, just remove it and then maybe give them a treat instead.
3. Beware the Jack’O Lantern
(and other decorations)
The traditional jack-o-lantern complete with a lit candle inside to light up the night is a staple of Halloween decor, but it’s easy for pets to knock them over. Not only can this be a fire hazard, but curious dogs and cats can also burn themselves on the open flame.
Try a battery-operated light instead of a candle. This is also another opportunity to distract your pet from ingesting pumpkin with a delicious treat instead.
With all the spooky decorations around, it’s important to also watch out for electrical wires. These can be tripping hazards and do not make good chewables for any pet.
4. Walk Safely And Carry a Big Flashlight
If you are planning on taking your pooch trick-or-treating, it’s best to keep them close with a short leash. All the costumes and decorations can be stressful and confusing for a dog. Some dogs are more nervous than others but it’s good to keep them close, especially if you are trick-or-treating in an unfamiliar or a crowded area.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet is highly visible with colourful costume accessories such as reflective tape and LED lights. These can also be used during the rest of the year as well if you are in the habit of walking your dog at night.
5. Keep Pets Inside
While Halloween is generally a night of fun and dress-up and treats of all kinds, it can also be a night of pranks and other unpleasant activities. Unfortunately, not everyone loves and cares for our animals the way we do and Halloween is often a night when animals can be teased, stolen or worse if left outside.
With all the noise and excitement of trick-or-treaters traipsing about, animals can easily get scared and run away.
It can also be helpful to have a safe room where you can keep your pets away from the door. With all the noise and excitement of costumed children coming up to your house and the door constantly opening and closing, it is much easier for a pet to escape or become overstimulated with all the excitement.
Being aware of your dog’s temperament and personality is helpful in determining the best place in the house for them to be. If they are extremely nervous or overprotective, it’s best to keep them away from the door.
Regardless, it’s helpful to have a plan in place for how you are going to handle your dog so you aren’t trying to hand out candy and keep your pet inside the door at the same time.
All-in-all, knowing the dangers and being prepared for them is the best way to ensure you and your beloved pet have a safe and fun Halloween.