Halloween is ALMOST upon us! Its our favorite time of year. The weather in the Midwest is beautiful in the fall, the leaves are changing, there is apple cider, pumpkin spice every thing and the wondrous Holiday that revolves around adorable costumes and candy! Halloween is a great Holiday, we love taking the kids out trick or treating, BUT there are many things that make Halloween a terrible Holiday for pets! A few safety precautions can help make it a fun time for the WHOLE family.
The thing that will come to your mind first is Candy! In the vet clinic the days after Halloween we see many cases of chocolate ingestion! That makes for a lot of vomit for us and a big vet bill for you. Make sure to keep the candy away from your pets! But also be aware that grapes/raisins and sugar free candies and gum are toxic to pets as well. Best to just keep all candy away from the critters.
Lost pets. With doors opening and closing, people running around the neighborhood in costumes it is very important to know where your pet is at all times. If you want to keep your dog or cat with you when handing out candy try to make sure they can’t bolt out the door. Keep your pet contained in the yard when being let out. Make sure you know where yours kitties are. Qwerty is kept in his kennel when we are handing out candy because there is too much going on for us to be able to watch him closely. Usually we keep the cats contained in a quiet room with a litter box and water, so they do not get spooked and try to bolt. Make sure that your pets I.D. tags and microchip information are up to date and make sure their collars are on and secure for Halloween night! That way if they do go missing, somebody who finds them will be able to contact you. If you ever see a strange pet running, DO NOT chase, try to contact your local police station to let them know and they can contact the right people to help.
If you have a dog or cat who has high anxiety or could become reactive you want to make sure you take the proper precautions. There will be small children dressed in costumes, which are very cute to us, but to a pet these can be terrifying! Try getting your pets used to the door bell ringing, have someone ring the door bell randomly through out the day and give your pet a treat when that happens. It also might be a good idea to have your pet associate the door bell ringing with sit or lay down. When the door bell rings have your pet sit/lay down, treat, then open the door. Even if your pets are not high anxiety it would be a good idea to have them trained not to get excited when the door bell is rung, that way every time it happens you are not fighting them to open the door and feed those candy starved children who are waiting.
Pet costumes. Halloween is all about the costumes. We all love dressing our pets up, but keep in mind that even pet costumes come with dangers and you should NEVER leave a costume on your pet when they are unattended, especially in a kennel or confined. Pieced of the costume can be chewed off and swallowed, and NOBODY wants a abdominal exploratory surgery for their dog or cat to remove bits of fabric/plastic from their insides! Costumes could also become tangled and cause them to strangle themselves. Of course it ok to dress your dog up, just be careful and aware that it should be something that is easily removed and do not leave them unattended.
Glow Sticks. These are popular items on Halloween, we have added them to our daughter’s costume to make her more visible to cars when on the street. But they can cause excessive drooling and excessive vomiting in cats. The good news is the chemicals are not fatal, but can make your cat feel sick. If your cat does chew on one flush their mouth out with water and bathe them with dish soap to remove excess chemical from their coat so they do not lick it while bathing themselves.
Decorations. Make sure to keep all Halloween decorations out of reach of mischievous pets. Candles and wax warmers can cause burns. Other decorations could be chewed on and cause electrical burns or an intestinal obstruction. Make sure all decorations are kept in areas where your pet is not left unattended.
If you are taking your dog out Trick or Treating with you make sure that you have some sort of light or reflective clothing on them to make them visible to cars. It is also important to keep them on a short leash, as there are many distractions on Halloween night that can cause them to wander. I recommend leaving the retractable leash at home and just sticking with a 4-6 foot leash.
Do you plan on having your pets joining on the festivities? Send us pictures of your celebrations!