Bags of candy, jack o’ lanterns, your scariest costume, and…pet safety? Is pet safety on your to-do list this Halloween? It definitely should be. While the season of witches and ghouls is right around the corner, toxic treats and other risks to pets can soon follow without the right precautions.
Halloween is a great time for kids of all ages. Tricks and treats abound! To take the spooky out of the season, Town and Country Animal Hospital wants to help you create the best time for your fur friend (without all the scares).
Tips on Treats
There’s nothing like chocolate bars and candies to cast a delightful spell over most of us. Unfortunately, these tasty bags of sweet treats will likely intrigue our pets. Items such as chocolate, Xylitol (a sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies), macadamia nuts, raisins, and grapes all prove to be highly toxic for animals.
While you can be sure there are several of these ingredients being passed around to trick-or-treaters, you can reduce the risk of pet poisoning by:
- Teaching your child why candy and other foods are bad for your pet and why they should keep these items out of reach.
- Ensuring extra candies are properly stored and given to your kids while supervised.
- Keeping your pet in a separate room or area during the trick-or-treating festivities.
- Making sure to look for any errant treats on floors, porches, and outside (discarded candies along sidewalks and yards are common).
It’s also important to know the signs of an accidental poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, restlessness, and increased respiration. Act at once by calling us if you suspect your pet has ingested a toxin.
Be aware that while it’s fun to decorate for Halloween, those fake cobwebs, gel-door clings, mini-pumpkins and scary little knick knacks can be choking and foreign body risks if chewed or swallowed by your pets. Be sure to keep all decorations out of reach of your pets and keep a close eye on them throughout the holiday season. Make sure children also know the impact of these items so that they don’t offer potentially dangerous items as toys or costume-pieces.
Costumes for Critters
Who can resist a sweet pug dressed like a lady bug? Pet costumes are exceedingly trendy these days, with outfits for cats, dogs, and even exotics. While many of these get-ups are go-to’s for pet owners, our pets may have other ideas (like getting out of them!).
For your pet’s safety and comfort:
- Let your pet investigate their costume beforehand, including trying them on for the right fit and comfort.
- Choose items that are well-fitting and appropriate for your pet’s species and size, and do not restrict breathing or movement in any way.
- Avoid hats that cover the ears, eyes, or mouth.
- Choose bright colors for better visibility if you plan on taking your dog for an evening walk.
- If your pet shows signs of distress (trying to get away, chewing, refusing to move, etc.), remove the costume. You can always find a fancy pumpkin bandana or Halloween themed leash or collar in lieu of a costume.
As pet owners, the thought of anyone being cruel to our pets is beyond comprehension. Sadly, the cases of animal cruelty around Halloween can increase significantly. Any animal left outside, not just black cats and dogs, is at risk of being harmed or becoming stolen or lost. Bring all pets inside during the week of Halloween (and a few days after), and be certain you have microchipped your pet and updated ID tags and microchip registry.
General Halloween Pet Safety Tips
Speaking of microchipping, be aware of your pet’s secure whereabouts. For those with anxiety or stress, keep them in a closed room, like a bedroom, during trick-or-treating. For those with more serious noise phobias, we recommend visiting us to discuss possible medications or alternative treatments that can help your pet through Halloween, as well as any other related stressors.
From the whole team, we wish you and your pet a Happy Halloween!