While this is a fun time of year for humans, it can be risky for animals. We want your furry friends to stay safe and happy during the holidays. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Candy, chocolate, and baked goods are not for pets. Ingesting human food can cause illness or death. All forms of chocolate are dangerous, especially dark chocolate. Many candies (and some kinds of nut butter) contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which is toxic. Signs of toxicity can include stumbling/being unable to walk normally, losing control of urine or bowel movements, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased or severely decreased heart rate, and lethargy. Wrappers can also cause gastrointestinal obstructions which can be life-threatening.
Keep pets away from the door. Since you’ll have visitors throughout the evening with costumes on, this can be scary for our furry friends since they don’t understand what is happening. There is also a risk that your pet could escape through the open door. It is best to keep your pets confined to a comfortable and quiet area of the house. Maybe even with some pet safe Halloween treats! A fun food maze or puzzle, or a kong with frozen treats in it can keep your pet occupied.
Keep Halloween decorations out of reach. Most pets leave decorations alone, but some won’t be able to resist tasting them. This can cause obstructions in their digestive tract which can be life-threatening and require major surgery. Some decorations could also be toxic to pets or cause gastrointestinal upset. If you have a jack-o-lantern, we recommend using a battery-lit candle to ensure they don’t burn themselves.
Costume awareness. Unfortunately, many pets get very anxious and uncomfortable when forced into wearing costumes. Some will even bite or scratch at their owners when they are trying to put them on. If you plan on putting a costume on your pet, we recommend having them get used to it before the big day. Festive collars or bandanas are a great alternative to costumes.
Update ID tags. Make sure they have a properly fitted collar (quick-release for our kitty friends), with ID tags on it. Sometimes people update their phone numbers or address and forget to update their pets ID tags. Microchipping is also an excellent option to help reunite you with your pet. That way if the collar or tag falls off they are still identifiable. If you are interested in having your pet microchipped, please contact your vet clinic.
Walk safely. If you plan on taking your dog with you trick or treating, please be careful. It can be a stressful situation for your pooch and are at risk of getting trampled by excited kids. Make sure your dog is on a leash and has a collar with an ID tag. Reflective leashes and collars are always a great idea. You can also get LED collar clip-on.
Adjust to human costumes. Even though pets love their owners very much, they may not recognize you in costume! Especially if you are wearing a mask. Slowly get your pets used to the costume before the big day.
Have a fun and safe Halloween!
Written by: Mikaila Cariou, RVT