Halloween is a fun time of year for humans, but it isn't always the case for pets. A parade of strangers in even stranger outfits ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety, and there are a number of threats to them – human and otherwise – on Halloween night.
Follow these safety tips below for a safer and happier Halloween for your pets.
Keep your pets away from chocolate. Between visitors, store these treats where your pets can't reach them. Even in minuscule doses, ingesting chocolate can be fatal to cats and dogs. Make sure the kids in your life know not to share their treats with their furry friends!
Candies and candy wrappers are also unsafe for cats and dogs. An artificial sweetener called xylitol is a common ingredient in candy, and it's poisonous for most animals. Wrappers can also be a threat to pets, causing life-threatening bowel obstructions if ingested.
- Some people choose to give out boxes of raisins at Halloween as a healthier alternative to candy. This is a great idea for trick-or-treaters, but they are very poisonous for dogs and must be kept out of their reach. Same thing for grapes! Both are toxic for canines.
Want to offer pet-friendly treats for your furbabies on Halloween night? Consider wet food, extra-moist chewy cat treats, dog biscuits with peanut butter on top, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, fruit or carrots. They'll love you for thinking of them, and it will help to distract them from human treats!
Keep a close eye on wires or cords for decorative lights – many dogs and cats like to chew on them and could suffer serious injuries as a result of the electrical current. Either tuck the cords behind furniture where they can't be reached, or watch your pets closely.
- Cats are drawn to anything interesting that they can chew, so glowsticks pose a threat to your feline friends. While eating glowsticks is not usually fatal for cats, it causes them great pain and irritation, as well as excessive drooling and foaming at the mouth. Put them away in a drawer or on a high shelf when not wearing them.
- In case your pets do make a break for it on Halloween night, ensure that they all have proper, up-to-date ID tags and/or a microchip in time for Halloween. If your beloved pet escapes and becomes lost, these forms of ID are the best way for people to know how to reunite you.
All the noise and activity of Halloween can trigger anxiety responses in pets – it's best to keep your furry companions in a quiet, closed room or covered crate during trick-or-treating hours so they don't get agitated or run out the open door. Consider a TV or some calming music to mask all the noise, and talk to the kids in your life about not scaring, harassing or otherwise abusing animals on Halloween.
- Pet costumes. Take note if your pets are resisting dress-up time – if so, respect their preference not to wear a costume. Show your furbabies how much you love them by avoiding these additional stresses on an already stressful night and try a thematic collar or bandanna instead. If you're absolutely certain that your animals don't mind getting dressed up for Halloween, make sure that there are no dangly items like bells or buttons on their costumes that they may potentially choke on. Same goes for children's costumes – animals like to attack dangly things. And remember that your pets may not recognize you in costume!