Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. Caramel apples and candy galore. Tricks and treats. Halloween is right around the corner, and towns all across America are gearing up for it. People want to get the whole family involved with the holiday, and that means pets, too. But with all the scares and the sugar, what will Halloween mean for your beloved dog or cat?
It’s possible to have a fun, safe, and stress-free time. With the right preparation, you and your entire family–canine, feline, and human—can enjoy Halloween safely.
Here are nine tips for keeping your pets safe this Halloween:
- Choose costumes cautiously. If you’re dressing your pet up for Halloween, be sure that he doesn’t mind it. Simpler is better when it comes to pet costumes–you don’t want your pet to become entangled in something that has a lot of strings, belts, or sashes. If Fido is comfortable in it, that’s a good sign. Also, never leave him in his costume unattended. Loose parts of a costume can become chewed on and ingested, potentially leading to foreign body indigestion or other digestive complications.
- Watch out for those decorations. While it’s fun to decorate your home in the Halloween spirit, be sure that decorations are out of your pet’s reach. You don’t want those plastic spiders on the table to become a midnight snack for Trixi.
- Keep wires and electrical cords out of reach. If chewed, your pet could ingest shards of wiring or plastic, or give herself a potentially fatal shock. Lay a carpet over them, secure them to the wall, or put them where your pet can’t reach them.
- Beware of candles. Lights inside of pumpkins and lit candles around the house have the potential to be knocked over, either burning your pet or causing a fire. Keep open flames within your sight at all times, and make sure to place them where your pet can’t get them.
- Don’t let your pets outside. Hoards of people walking around in monster costumes won’t just frighten the neighborhood kids. Pets can get confused and frightened by all the revelry and noise. Also, while mean-spirited pranksters aren’t the norm, it’s better to take caution and shut down the opportunity for anybody messing with your pet.
- Keep pets away from the door. If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters, prevent your pet from becoming afraid and potentially running away by keeping them in another room. This is also a good idea if your pet is overly protective or territorial.
- If you have a black cat, take extra caution. Take him inside a few days before and after Halloween, to deter any unwanted attention or pranks. In fact, many animal shelters don’t adopt out black cats in October for this very reason.
- Make sure your pet has some form of identification. If he does end up running out the door, or escaping his leash while out and about, having the proper identification (either an ID tag or a microchip) increases the odds of having him being returned to you.
- Keep candies and chocolates well out of reach. Sweets run amuck on Halloween, so keep a careful eye on your pet when you’re in any situation involving them. Chocolate and xylitol, a sweetener found in many artificial candies, are poisonous to pets. Hide the candy in cabinets, watch for any dropped sweets, and don’t let anyone feed your pet any human treats. And if your pet has gotten her paws on a candy, take her to the vet right away.
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If you keep these tips in mind, you’re on your way to having a safe and enjoyable holiday. Happy Halloween!