8 Things You Can Do to Make Halloween Safer For Your Pet
Since we’re in the thick of October, many of us are probably gearing up for the pinnacle of the season: Halloween. Some of us might be thinking about last-minute costumes. Others may be hanging up decorations, or rushing to the store to stock up on Halloween candy.
Meanwhile, pet parents are often thinking of ways to include their dogs and cats in the celebrations. This can be lots of fun, but keep in mind that some Halloween traditions can actually put your pets in danger. Below are some tips and suggestions to help keep your pets healthy and safe on Oct. 31, no matter how you may choose to participate. Happy Halloween!
1. Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy
Kids should be limited to their fill of Halloween candy for health reasons, but pets should be kept away from the plastic Jack o’ Lantern candy stash entirely. Most everything inside will probably be poisonous, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum). Stock up on dog bones, cat nip, and other pet-friendly treats instead.
2. Make sure your pet is properly identified
Even if they’re in costume, your pets should still be wearing a microchip, collar and/or ID tag. Proper ID will go a long way in case your dog or cats slips through the open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters or escapes at some point during the evening’s festivities.
3. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach
This one’s a no-brainer, but we’ll say it just in case. Whiskers and fur catch fire easily, and decorations can be easily be knocked over. For your pets’ safety, pumpkins and other Halloween decor must be kept in a place where curious pets can’t reach them.
4. Costume safety
Halloween costumes for pets are incredibly cute, but make sure whatever they’re wearing is comfortable, fits properly, doesn’t restrict their sight, breathing, hearing, or movement, and is free from chewing or choking hazards. It’s also a good idea to do a dress rehearsal prior to the big night to help your pets feel comfortable in their new gear.
5. Halloween makeup, hair dye, and costume jewelry
Makeup and hair dye may be an essential part of your costume, but dogs and cats should never wear makeup or hair dye on their skin, nails, or fur. Glow sticks and other glow jewelry are also filled with hidden Halloween dangers. Call your vet and/or poison control immediately if your pet accidentally ingests any of these products and/or starts acting strangely, which is a sign of poisoning.
6. Safe places
Some pets are comfortable and relaxed around strangers, but many animals get anxious and overwhelmed by new people, sights, and sounds. If your pet is wary of strangers and/or has a biting tendency, it’s best to place them in a another room during trick-or-treating hours and give them a safe place to hideout.
7. Keep pets inside
Because Halloween can be seen as the night of witches and other lore, cats – particularly black cats – can fall prey to people with nefarious agendas. Play it safe by keeping cats safely inside your house on Oct. 31, preferably in a quiet room where they can’t be disturbed by any ruckus outside.
If you plan to take your dog trick-or-treating, make sure s/he has plenty of water, healthy snacks, and stays away from human candy (see point 1). Also, some pups deal with greeting strange people and dogs better than others, so be prepared to be leave early if your dog gets overwhelmed, anxious, or tired. Happy Halloween!