Halloween Safety for your Pets
Hi everyone! Your friend Tuki coming to you from my perch here at the Potter League. It’s starting to feel like fall out there with the temperatures getting cooler and the kids starting back to school in some form. And you know what comes next – Halloween! This year, Halloween might be a little different than in past years, but I imagine there will still be costumes and treats even if there isn’t any trick or treating (and not having any tricks might be a good thing!).
Keeping your pets safe during any Halloween activities is still important, so here are some things to think about while planning your alternative Halloween celebration:
1. Keep the sweet treats out of reach. As you may know chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be dangerous for both cats and dogs. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many types of candy (for example, sugar-free candy), can be toxic even in small amounts. Lollipops and their sticks can be a choking hazard. Hard candies and any type of candy wrappers can cause choking or an intestinal obstruction. Instead, have some of your pet’s favorite treats on hand so they can celebrate without being tempted by the human treats.
2. Pick the right costume for your pet. Not the one that will get them the most Instagram followers or likes on Facebook, but one that is safe and comfortable. Make sure the costume fits properly, is not too tight, and doesn’t interfere with their sight, breathing or walking. Remove any small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed, like buttons or rubber bands. Try the costume on your pet a few days before Halloween so they have time to get used to it and you can be sure it fits properly. If they don’t like wearing it or try to get out of it, maybe a seasonal bandanna or bow tie that attaches to their collar would be better.
3. Choose your Halloween decorations wisely. A lot of humans like things a little scary on Halloween, but most pets don’t! If you like to decorate with ghosts that make spooky sounds and zombies that wail, keep in mind that these are new and frightening sounds for your pets so they may need to stay in a safe place, like another room or their crate while you have the decorations on. And things like fake spider webs or rubber body parts (e.g. hands and eyeballs) are a choking hazard. If you have a lighted jack-o-lantern to set the mood, use battery-operated candles which are less of a fire hazard. Keep the cords from electric decorations tucked away so your pet won’t chew on them which can cause a shock or burns to their mouth and tongue. And don’t forget to clean up those jack-o-lanterns and other pumpkin decorations soon after the big day. Once they start to spoil, they can make your pet sick if eaten.
4. Small (and large!) children in costume. Although you might not have those trick or treaters ringing your doorbell this year, you may have an at-home celebration with your own family members. Remember that costumes and other changes to your routine may cause your pet some anxiety. Especially if you have adopted a new pet in the past few months that has not experienced Halloween with you before. Watch your pets to be sure they aren’t becoming anxious and if they are, bring them to a space where they feel safe, like another room or their crate, to help them remain calm.
5. Stay inside. I know you’ve been hearing that a lot over the past few months, but it is especially important for your pets on Halloween. There are pranksters (or just really mean people) that use this holiday as an excuse to tease or torment animals. The best way to prevent this is to keep your pets, especially your black cats, indoors on Halloween.
6. May I see some identification please. Be sure your pet has some form of identification so if they do slip out during any festivities, they can be returned to you much easier when found. A collar with tags containing your address and phone number is good, but the best form of identification is to have your pet microchipped. With a microchip they can still be identified if their collar slips off and is lost. Also, be sure your information with the microchipping service is up to date so they can find you and return your little escape artist quickly!
Enjoy this beautiful fall and have a fun and safe Halloween!
‘Till next time, your friend