Let’s face it. Halloween is a fun and festive time for the kiddos, but not so much for our furry friends. For household pets, it can be a downright nightmare. This year, make it much easier on your animals and yourselves by following these 10 simple tips.
1. Bring pets inside on Halloween night.
Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal or even kill pets on Halloween night. Unimaginable, I know. But, sadly, it has been known to happen. This sort of thing can be easily prevented by keeping household pets out of the yard and in your home and securing outdoor pets somewhere safely indoors.
2. Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Not only will your doorbell constantly be ringing and the door opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly can create a lot of anxiety our furry friends. Dogs, who are are especially territorial, can become fearful and growl or lunge at innocent trick-or-treaters. Simply putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the noise and activity at the front door will also prevent them from darting outside.
3. Bring outdoor kitties inside several days before and days after Halloween.
Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters will not adopt-out any black cats during the month of October as a safety measure.
4. Keep the chocolate (and ALL sweet treats) out of your pet’s reach.
All forms of chocolate -- especially baking or dark chocolate -- can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established… it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. Keep decorative and seasonal plants such as pumpkins, gourds and corn away from pets.
Although most are relatively nontoxic, such plants can cause gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can occur if large pieces are swallowed. And while we’re on the subject of pumpkins.
6. Don't keep lit pumpkins around pets.
This one may seem obvious, but it is worth the reminder because animals are curious by nature and if they go sniffing around too closely, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.
7. Keep wires and electric light cords inaccessible as much as possible.
If chewed, a pet could easily cut or injure him or herself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a potentially life-threatening electrical shock.
8. Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you KNOW they'll allow it. Seriously.
If you DO decide that your pet must wear a costume, make sure it doesn’t annoy them or constrict their natural movement, or their ability to see, hear, breathe, bark and meow.
9. Do dress rehearsal before the big night.
If your pet is definitely sporting a costume on Halloween night or to a themed event, be sure to give them ample chance to wear the costume beforehand. If they seem to be in distress or exhibit any abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in the “nude” instead. P.S. A cute bandana can go a long way for party poopers, too.
10. May I see your ID?
In the event that your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification greatly increases the chance that they’ll be returned safely to you. Ensure that the information is up-to-date, even if your pet has an embedded microchip.