(5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe)
As I mentioned in my recent article on paw some pet Halloween costumes, more pet parents plan to involve their fur babies in Halloween celebrations in 2018 than last year. While costumes are fun and Halloween is a great family holiday, it can be terrifying for pets. And that’s not just because of the spooky ghosts and goblins.
For starters, Halloween is up there with July 4th and New Year’s Eve as a day for pets getting lost. While there may not be fireworks like on Independence Day, there are plenty of loud noises that can startle pets—both dogs and cats—and make them want to run away.
In addition, with trick-or-treaters showing up, your front door is likely to be open a lot more than usual. This could provide an easy escape route for a frightened feline or canine.
“Remember that Halloween can be scary for pets because of the amount of people in costume flooding the neighborhood streets and your home,” warns Ari Zabell, DVM, at Banfield Pet Hospital. “Keep your pet in a separate room of the house, away from the front door, so they don’t attempt an escape or feel threatened by the steady stream of costumed visitors.”
Another suggestion, courtesy of Dogtopia, the nation’s largest dog daycare, boarding and spa facility, is simply keeping your dog on a leash during the time that trick or treaters are coming to your door. This is the option we use each Halloween with our dogs Sadie and Oscar. That way we can keep any eye on them. Plus, the dogs aren’t stressed out from being off in a room by themselves while the doorbell rings constantly.
Here are five additional ways to keep your pets safe on Halloween.
1. Consider Halloween costumes carefully
If your pet despises dressing up, don’t force them to wear a costume. “A simple accessory, such as a bandana or bowtie, can be a nice compromise,” says Zabell. However, if your pet is OK with wearing a costume, make sure it doesn’t limit movement, hearing, eyesight or the ability to eat food or drink water.
2. Keep an eye on Halloween candy
Don’t leave all of that Halloween candy lying around if you have pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Caramel apple sticks can also be swallowed and cause choking or an intestinal blockage. It’s the same with candy wrappers and packaging. Finally, another food to watch out for: raisins. They are also toxic to pets.
3. Put Halloween decorations out of your pet’s reach
Keep electric twinkle lights and extension cords elevated to a height your pet can’t reach to avoid chewing, which could result in an electric shock. Your pets can burn themselves or knock over a candle, creating a fire hazard. Therefore, keep all lit candles or pumpkins far from wagging tails and curious noses and whiskers.
4. Don’t dye your pet’s coat as a costume
You may have seen celebrities with their pooches with bright pink fur, but that’s not really a great idea, says Zabell. “The dyeing process can be unnecessarily stressful for the pet,” he says, “and many dyes contain toxins that can irritate your pet’s skin.”
5. Put your black cat someplace safe
While many people think about black cats and Halloween, there could be those thinking about doing mischief to your dark-as-night feline. Unfortunately, reports of animal cruelty to black cats tend to spike around Halloween.
Truth is any animal, not just black cats, could end up hurt on Halloween, unless their pet parents follow the simple tips above. It doesn’t take much to keep your fur babies safe and have a Happy Halloween.
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