The tricks and treats that make Halloween a favorite holiday can be frightening and stressful to your pet. Doorbells ringing, trick-or-treaters pounding on your door and boisterous groups of children in costumes can all combine to produce a high level of anxiety in your dog or cat.
The ASPCA suggests you take the following precautions to ensure your pets are safe this Halloween:
Take your dog out before dark to avoid meeting up with neighborhood ghosts and goblins. Some dogs are easily frightened and become aggressive when confronted by costumed youngsters.
If your dog or cat is an outdoor pet, bring her in for the night to keep her safe. Unfortunately, pranksters are on the prowl Halloween night and their mischief can include teasing or injuring animals or worse.
Unless your pet is particularly social, put him in a room away from the front door during the peak trick-or-treating hours. The commotion of children at the door and the sight of strangers in costumes can make some pets fearful and unpredictable. If you do allow your pet to move about the house, take care that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. To protect your pet in case he does get loose, make sure he is wearing an identification tag.
Take caution not to place candles and carved pumpkins within easy reach of your pet. Tail-wagging dogs can easily overturn such decorations and start a fire. Cats with curious noses and probing paws are at risk for getting burned.
Keep glow-sticks away from your pets. Cats in particular find these attractive chews toys, and the Pet Poison Helpline reports that while not poisonous, the contents can irritate your pet’s mouth and cause drooling, nausea and vomiting.
If you dress up your dog or cat, be sure that the costume is safe and that your pet is not uncomfortable wearing it. Make sure the costume does not constrict your pet’s movement, her ability to hear, or bark or meow. Check to be certain there are no dangling or easily chewed-off pieces and that any elastic closures are not too tight. Do not leave a costumed pet unattended. Some pets, if left alone, will chew on their costumes and ingest potentially harmful material. Frisky animals can get tangled in their costumes. Because dogs and cats lick their coats, the Pet Poison Hotline cautions against dying or coloring your pet’s fur, even if the dye is labeled non-toxic.
People treats are not for your pet. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, the xylitol in sugar-free candies and even kid-healthy raisins are all harmful to your pet. To make sure you aren’t making an emergency trip to your veterinarian, store Halloween goodies where your pet cannot reach them. Caution your children not to share their treats with your pet and to throw away all candy wrappers.
A little care can ensure that Halloween is fun for the whole family and not a fright fest for your pet.
The Pet Poison Helpline