Cat health, Digestive Health, Seasonal Challenges

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Far too often, your pets and Halloween go together like “trick” for your dog or cat, and “treat” for us humans, large and small. This year let’s make sure that October 31st does not become a horror show for Fido and Fluffy! Check out these Halloween pet safety tips~

Halloween Pet Safety Tips to Avoid Dog and Cat “Tricks” – oh my!

#1 – Candy

While candy is the quintessential “treat” for kids and adults alike, it is literally poison for your animals.

Chocolate, especially the dark or baking types, are very toxic.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures

The artificial sweetener, xylitol, is found in many sugar-free gums and candies. Fido ingesting only a small amount can demand an emergency visit to your vet on Halloween night!

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs:

  • A sudden drop in blood sugar
  • Seizures
  • Liver failure

Be sure to explain to your children that the treats they enjoy so much can hurt or kill the dog or cat that they love. Halloween is not the time to “share” with your pet! Also, candy wrappers and plastic packaging present choking hazards.

24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline – 888-426-4435. (The hotline may charge a consultation fee.)

#2 – Decorations, wires, and more…

What is it about Halloween that brings out the decorator in so many of us? However, those wooly webs, fake blood, and electrical, blinking decorations can entrap and strangle, upset tummies, and downright shock your four-legged companions.

Glow sticks, while helpful safety tools for your Little Princess or Dracula, look like play toys to Fido. Although they are technically “non-toxic”, should your pup get to chewing and break one open, he will get a disgusting fright. We understand that the liquid is terrible tasting and may cause Fido to drool, paw at his mouth, become very agitated and even vomit. An unpleasant moment for all. Should this unfortunate situation arise, offer Fido water or a small meal, according to PetMD.

Halloween pet safety tips - keep this pumpkin up away from pet paws!

Although pumpkin and dried corn are generally not toxic, these types of decorations tend to mold and when ingested can cause digestive issues. Also, burning candles in pumpkins are a fire hazard if knocked over by your boisterous pet.

#3 – Pet Halloween costumes are cute —- and possibly hazardous!

While some pets seem to actually enjoy “dressing up”, that trait may be more the exception than the rule. If a part of your Halloween plans is to costume your dog or cat, please consider the outfit from their perspective.

Never restrict your pet’s vision, hearing or ability to smell in any way with hats or masks! Is the costume too tight which might create breathing issues? Or is it too loose which could cause navigation and movement distress? Does the costume have hanging decorations or buttons that could be chewed off and result in choking?

Is your pet agitated, upset, or distressed?

Watch for the following signs:

  • Folded-down or laid-back ears
  • Eyes rolled back or furtively looking side to side
  • A tucked tail
  • A hunched-over posture
  • Whining or moaning
  • Attempting to escape and hide

What to do if your pet is showing signs of anxiety:

Check out the product Calm. The name says it all. This product is completely safe. You simply cannot overdose your pet. Offer Calm as a treat per weight instructions prior to or at the first sign of upset. If no change in demeanor is observed, offer a second portion, and even a third. Again, this product is totally non-toxic, and can really show up as a savior!

As a rule of thumb, leave senior animals, kittens, and puppies out of the festivities altogether.

We hope you enjoyed the video above and perhaps it offered enough smiles that you can limit decorating your own pet!

Unless your dog or cat is accustomed to dressing-up, a Halloween bandana or bow may be a more than adequate indicator of ghoulish seasonal spirit. If a photo op is your goal, suit Fido up, shoot the pics quickly, and release your pet from his confining, albeit adorable, Halloween attire.

Halloween pet safety tips - no fangs this year!

Never leave your pet alone in his costume – never. Remember that, in most cases Fido and Fluffy’s “birthday suits” are really their favorite costumes! After all, they naturally have prominent fangs, however, we don’t want them to share those with anyone on Halloween. No Dracula Dogs or Cats!

Where, oh where, is the best place for your pet to spend their safe Halloween?

NOT trick or treating with the family! Although Fido may normally be the calmest, easiest-going dog in the neighborhood, the costumes alone may freak him out since dogs don’t understand masks or swords as fun. Add to that, strange smells and the overall chaos of the evening! Fido’s stressed-out response may be abnormal, unwelcome behaviors. Dog bites, dog fights, and your dear companion running terrified into the dark don’t make for a pleasant family celebration!

Bring your pets in for the night (like on July 4th and New Year’s Eve). In many neighborhoods, the doorbell ringing, the door opening, and closing happen over and over revealing excited, loud little children in costume outside. Many dogs consider it to be their job to monitor the door and the coming and going of strangers and family. This front door action can add up to a lot of stress for Fido. And cats generally crave quiet and calm, hardly a Halloween environment.

One thought might be to set up a table on the front porch where you can offer treats to passersby and bypass the ringing of the doorbell all together.

Halloween pet safety tips - hiding in anxiety.

For your pet’s safety as well as to reduce agitation and anxiety, prepare a quiet room at the furthest end of the house – ahead of time. You might turn on relaxing music and leave treat-filled toys for fun. If your dog feels safer in a crate, this may be the perfect night to bring that out and be sure to remember favorite beds and boxes for all, kitty too.

What to do if your pet manages to slip out into the night:

Be sure that Fido and Fluffy are wearing their collars with ID tags and your phone number conspicuously visible. Additionally, be certain that the information associated with their microchip is up to date. It’s a good idea to take a photo of your pet in the unlikely event you’ll have to place it on a “lost” flyer. Much better safe than sorry.

Wishing you a happy, and most importantly, safe Halloween!

Thanks to the following references and resources: