Found Animals recommends taking some common sense precautions to make this a fun-filled and memorable Halloween for animals and animal lovers alike. As a pet owner, you know your pets best, but as a reminder, here are 13 pet safety tips to consider for a safe and happy Halloween season!
- Keep your dog or cat stress-free by choosing a costume that fits properly and isn’t too much of a distraction to your pet. While dressing up your dog or cat can be fun, there are a few things that should be considered when picking out a costume for your pet. A costume that is too large or too small can be problematic; too large and your pet could be injured. Tripping or getting caught on furniture or other obstacles can be dangerous. Too small a costume and your pet risks choking and discomfort. Also be sure the costume is free of small or dangling parts that can be torn off and ingested.
- Make sure your dog or cat can see – while masks and hoods might be cute, if your pet cannot see you, you could run into larger issues. Even pets with the sweetest temperament could bite, scratch or cause injury because they cannot see properly.
- As tempted as you might be, avoid dyes and face paints which may irritate your pet’s skin or be eaten. Even if a product states that it is nontoxic, it could still cause an upset tummy or reaction. It’s best to leave the face paint and dyes to the humans!
- Never leave your dogs and cats unattended while dressed in a costume.
- Remember it’s dark outside! If your pet will be traveling with you this Halloween, whether it is next door to a party or trick or treating for several blocks, consider adding a reflective collar, tape or other gear as part of their costume so that they can easily be seen.
Trick-or-Treaters and Other Guests:
- For some dogs and cats, they are most comfortable at home. Keep in mind, though, that the constant doorbell ringing and unusual appearance of strangers in costume might be too much as well. Place your pet in a quiet area away from all the commotion. Give them some comfort by surrounding them with their favorite toys or blankets. Some pets may be less distracted if you leave the TV on to muffle the unusual level of noise and activities that surround Halloween. Animal Planet anyone?
- Be alert when opening your door, your dog or cat may be tempted to escape. Consider putting up a pet gate in your doorway as a precaution.
- One of the most important things you can do any time of the year is microchip your pet. Should your pet escape and become lost, your chances of being reunified are greatly increased. Also make sure your pet is wearing external ID (like a nametag) that is up to date and easily readable. Found Animals provides a free microchip registry with found pet alerts.
- If possible, walk your dog before dark when all the trick or treating festivities begin. This will help you avoid massive crowds which can stress out your pet leading to injuries and avoid the accidental ingestion of discarded wrappers and dropped candy that may make your pet sick.
Halloween Candy and Other Treats:
Keep all candy out of reach from your pets! Your pets have an excellent sense of smell so keep those treats sealed up tight. Some candy can be especially dangerous to your pet, such as the following:
- Sugar-free candy which contains Xylitol is dangerous. Even in small doses this ingredient can cause rapid low blood sugar and liver damage or failure in dogs.
- Chocolate, especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate, is poisonous and sometimes FATAL. It’s common for people to say a dog has to eat a lot of chocolate to cause health problems. To put this in perspective, a 50 pound dog need only ingest 50 ounces of dark chocolate or just 5 ounces of baking chocolate to cause problems such as tremors, nervousness, vomiting, high heart rate or even death in some cases.
- Raisins are often a healthy Halloween treat for kids, but can be deadly to dogs. Dogs can experience kidney failure after ingesting just a small amount of raisins (including currants and grapes in many cases).
- Make sure you discuss with children and visitors the dangers of sharing Halloween treats. Also make sure garbage cans are sealed and wrappers are disposed of properly. Dogs and cats can choke easily on cellophane and tinfoil wrappers which many of our favorite Halloween treats are wrapped in.
Halloween Decorations and Other Dangers:
- Decorations such as jack-o-lanterns can be dangerous to pets with wagging tails or curious noses. Avoid house fires and injured pets by keeping candles out of reach or by using a low-heat, battery-operated light instead.
- Pumpkins, gourds and decorative corn can attract the attention of pets as well. Though in most cases these are non-toxic, they might still cause an upset stomach and create a mess. Consider keeping these items in an area away or out of reach from pets.
- Festive lights, ribbons and streamers should also be kept out of reach to avoid injury including electrocution or ingestion causing obstruction.