It’s time to carve out your pumpkins and put up your spooky decorations. Halloween is a fun time for children and adults alike. Many pet parents like to include their pets in the fun. We get a kick seeing the creative costumes pet parents come up with. But we also want to ensure safety rules are followed for your pets. We’ve seen pets get critically ill from consuming Halloween Candy, decorations, costume parts, etc., during Halloween. So, let’s all play it safe and follow these Halloween safety tips:
1. Keep Halloween Candy out of reach of pets.
Make sure bowls and bags of candy are safely secured away from your pets. Educate your children on the importance of not feeding their candy to their pets. Candy can contain foods that are extremely toxic to pet and can cause death. Top list of Halloween foods that are toxic to pets are:
- Macadamia Nuts
See our blog Common Pet Poisons for a more extensive list of foods toxic to pets.
2. Don’t Leave Candy Wrappers Lying Around
Be sure to properly dispose of candy wrappers. If a pet eats a candy wrapper, it can cause life-threatening obstructions to the intestinal tract, which may require surgery.
3. Keep Your Pets Inside on Halloween
You may think that your backyard is safe for your pet. But it is common for pets to find ways to escape their yards when they become frightened. Halloween is the second most common holiday for dogs to go missing, just behind Fourth of July. So, please bring your pets inside and keep them safe!
4. Keep Your Pets in Anther Room away from Your Front Door
Pets can easily escape out the front door when it is opened for Trick or Treaters. Even if your pet is friendly, they can become wary of the noise and sight of dressed up strangers which could lead them to biting or trying to escape. Keep them in another room during trick-or-treating hours and provide them with a safe hiding place. It helps some pets to put on relaxing music to help tune out the noise of doorbells and strangers coming to the door.
5. Ensure Your Pets Can Be Properly Identified
Make sure your pet is properly identified (up-to-date microchip, collar, and ID tag) just in case it escapes through an open door while you’re distracted by trick-or-treaters.
6. Keep Halloween Decorations Out of Reach of Pets
If you’re going to have lit candles and jack-o-lanterns, keep these out of reach of pets; You can use LED lights as a safer alternative. But still, keep these out of reach of curious pets. Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn’t likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely;
7. Beware Pet Costume Hazards
If you plan to put a costume on your pet, evaluate their comfort level. Some dogs are used to wearing coats and sweaters, so they might not mind a costume. But others only wear collars. Most cats don’t even wear collars. So, for some pets, wearing a costume can be a strange and stressful experience for a pet.
If your pet can tolerate a costume without stress, make sure the costume fits properly and is comfortable. Ensure it doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off. Also, ensure it doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, opening its mouth and breathing, or mobility. Take time to get your pet used to the costume before Halloween. And never leave your pet unsupervised while they are wearing a costume.
8. Be Alert to Signs of Trouble
Signs your pet may have ingested something dangerous include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and difficulty in breathing. If you notice any of these signs, do not hesitate! Get your pet to an emergency vet immediately.
Now for Some Halloween Fun
PUMPKIN TREATS FOR PETS
Pumpkin is a healthy treat for dogs and cats. It contains vitamins A, C, and E, minerals, and antioxidants. Surprisingly, plain, unsweetened cooked pumpkin can help with both diarrhea and constipation. Additionally, even if your pet doesn’t have any digestive problems, the fiber is beneficial too.
You can give your dog or cat plain canned, puréed pumpkin or fresh, cooked pumpkin. However, make sure it is unsweetened – no added sugar or spices as these can cause trouble for your pet. Also, you want to use it in moderation. Too much pumpkin could cause stomach upset. As all pets are different, consult with your veterinarian on how much is good for your pet.
Dr. Kathryn Moriarty