The vibrant leaf-covered streets and the crisp fall air let us know that holiday season is here in full force. Halloween celebrations may look a little different this year, but will still include spooky treats and silly tricks. Like most holidays, our pets, with their cute costumes and joy at joining in the fun, can make the best of celebrations better. But, holiday celebrations can be hazardous for pets. To help keep your pets safe and sound this Halloween, here are the top five Halloween safety tips from LaGrange Veterinary Hospital.
#1: Keep the treats out of pets’ reach
The most-disciplined people and pets find Halloween candy hard to resist, so ensure all treats are kept out of range of your pet’s vision and smell. A good tip is to keep the candies in a special drawer, cabinet, or sealed dog- and cat-proof container. Halloween treats, such as chocolate, especially dark or Baker’s chocolate, are toxic to pets and can result in an overnight hospital stay when ingested. Sugar-free treats that often contain the sweetener xylitol can also be dangerous to pets, because small amounts can be extremely toxic to dogs, and result in seizures, liver failure, or sometimes death. Call our office immediately, or the ASPCA poison control, should your pet accidentally ingest these Halloween treats.
#2: Decorate with care and caution
While festive, Halloween decor can be problematic for our curious critters. Ensure all loose wires and batteries are placed in a safe, difficult-to-access location. Investigative pets are at risk of electric shock or burns if they chew on items that help create the spooky ambience. Pets likely will want to get up close and personal with new decorations, so ensure the following are out of reach:
- Candles — Curious cats can easily knock down your favorite jack-o’-lantern and burn themselves, or cause a fire.
- Corn decorations — Corn cobs can cause gastrointestinal blockages if ingested. Also, corn and pumpkins can get moldy and produce mycotoxins, known to be toxic to cats and dogs.
- Pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns — While pumpkin is not generally toxic to animals, ingesting large quantities can cause gastrointestinal distress.
#3: Keep pet costumes comfy
Few things are cuter than a dachshund dressed up as a hot dog, or your Golden retriever as a ferocious lion. However, you must consider costume fit, comfort, and breathability when dressing up your pet. Always ensure your pet is comfortable, and not anxious or stressed. Their costume should be loose enough so they can move freely without any interruption in gait or breathing, but not so loose that it falls off, or causes their legs to get caught up in ties or holes. Also, never leave your costumed pet unsupervised. Some pets will resist costumes despite a perfect fit, and become stressed or simply refuse to move. A festive collar or bandana that your pet is used to is an excellent alternative to a full costume.
#4:Halloween party safety for pets
Although you may not be trick or treating this year, you can easily become distracted during a small family celebration and not watch your pet. If you are having a home Halloween party, keep your pets in a separate room, or in their crate. Loud music, strange people in costumes, and access to endless treats can be stressful and dangerous for pets, who may try to escape and get lost. Black cats are especially vulnerable on Halloween night and should be kept safe from pranksters. Bring outside pets inside for the days leading up to Halloween, and ensure they have up-to-date microchips and collar identification in case they get spooked, and decide to take their own Halloween adventure.
#5: Protect your pets’ paws and claws
Whether you are taking your evening walk, or out observing the neighborhood ghosts and ghouls, ensure your pet is adequately visible to passing cars and people with a reflective leash, collar, or costume. Also, watch carefully for holiday debris or glass on the streets that could damage your pet’s paws. Cold temperatures can also harm your pet, so keep evening outings short when temperatures are at their lowest.
If you have questions about keeping your pet safe this Halloween, or they play tricks and get into treats or other trouble, give our LaGrange Veterinary Hospital team a call. We are always ready to help.