By: Elizabeth Alexander, DVM
Ambassador Animal Hospital
Halloween, the spookiest time of the year, is just around the corner! As a pet owner, you’re probably looking forward to dressing up your four-legged family members in adorable costumes and maybe even indulging them in some pet-friendly treats. However, it’s essential to remember that Halloween can pose some unique challenges to the safety and well-being of your beloved cats and dogs. In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks to ensure your furry friends have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.
Costumes and Comfort:
Dressing up your pets can be a lot of fun, but it’s crucial to prioritize their comfort and safety. When choosing costumes, make sure they are comfortable, well-fitted, and free from any small parts that could be chewed or swallowed. It’s also essential to allow your pets to get used to wearing their costumes before Halloween night, so they don’t become stressed or agitated. If your furry friend seems uncomfortable in their costume, it’s okay to skip it and focus on other ways to celebrate the holiday together.
If you plan to take your dog out trick-or-treating with you, make sure they are on a secure leash or harness. Many dogs can become easily spooked by the unusual sights and sounds of Halloween, so keep a close eye on their body language and be prepared to head home if they seem stressed or frightened.
Some pets may find the constant stream of visitors on Halloween night overwhelming. Its ok if they want to hide out in the back and miss the costumes. Create a safe and quiet space where your pets can retreat if they need a break from all the excitement. Provide them with their favorite toys, blankets, and some soothing background music to help them relax.
Candy and Treats:
Halloween is synonymous with candy and treats, but these are not safe for your pets. Chocolate, in particular, can be toxic to both dogs and cats, and the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be extremely dangerous. Candy in general is not made for our pets and can cause an upset stomach or worse. Make sure to keep all Halloween candies and treats out of your pets’ reach and remind your guests to do the same.
Pumpkins and Decorations:
Carved pumpkins with candles inside can be a charming part of Halloween decor, but they pose a fire hazard and can be knocked over by curious pets. Opt for flameless LED candles or keep pumpkins well out of your pets’ reach. Also, watch out for electrical cords and other decorations like fake cobwebs, or plastic spider, that your pets might be tempted to chew on. Pets are naturally curious, but these items are not meant for tummies!!
Collars with ID Tags and Microchipping:
Halloween can be a hectic time, with many visitors coming and going. Ensure your pets are wearing proper identification (their collar with an up-to-date ID tag). For bonus points, have your pet microchipped. This permanent identification method ensures you even more peace of mind. These steps can be a lifesaver if your pet manages to slip out of the door during all the excitement of Halloween.
Vigilance and Monitoring:
On Halloween, keep an eye on your pet’s body language. If they display signs of stress such as pacing, excessive panting, hiding, or trembling, please take them to their safe space for a break. Always supervise interactions between your pets and Halloween decorations, especially if you have curious kittens or puppies. Keep candy and treats out of the reach of you furry friends, and never leave your pet alone in their costume.
By paying close attention to these safety tips, you can help ensure that your fur-babies enjoy Halloween safely. While the holiday is known for its thrills and chills, it’s essential to prioritize the well-being of your pets to make it a truly spooktacular time for everyone. Happy Halloween!