BOO! Candy is flying off the store shelves. Costumes are being planned. Trick or Treat routes are being mapped out. Halloween is almost here and parents and children alike anticipate a big night. But wait… Halloween may be fun for you and your human children, but it can be pretty spooky for your furry kids.
No tricks, no treats is the best Halloween mantra for your dog or cat.
Cats and dogs aren’t always fans of the neighborhood candy hunt. Doorbells constantly ring and strangers in weird costumes invade their domain. Too many sights! Too many smells! Too many sounds!
Halloween can be overwhelming for our pets, so here are a few tips to keep Halloween safe and fun for the entire family.
1. No Candy!
As the candy accumulates in the treat bag, resist the temptation to share it with your pet. Chocolate in all forms, and artificially sweetened candy can be dangerous for dogs and cats. And lots of dogs gobble up candy – wrappers and all. Even natural treats like apples should be off limits for dogs and cats. Intestinal upsets, blockages, and pancreatitis can result from eating items not normally on your pet’s menu.
2. Keep Trick or Treating Safe.
With all the excess foot traffic, it’s best to leave your pet at home as you walk the neighborhood with your child. Even dogs familiar with their exercise route are thrown off course by the extra people on the path and may become agitated. Plus, scary looking humans that approach for a friendly pat on the head may not be perceived as friendly to an overwhelmed dog. Nothing ruins Halloween like a dog bite.
If your pet stays home during Trick or Treat, make sure he is in a secure area. Frightened dogs or cats may scurry through an open door while you dole out candy. Others become very territorial as strangers approach their home turf. Keep pets in another room or safely on leash as you greet Halloween visitors. Besides, they may appreciate the solitude. The 39th ring of the doorbell can be pretty aggravating.
3. Fall decorations can also be dog and cat health hazards.
While decorations set the Halloween mood, be sure that your pet does not nibble on your most tempting displays. Your hand-carved Jack-o-lantern is non-toxic, but pumpkin can upset a pet’s stomach. Also, keep decorative corn out of reach. These fall-colored corncobs are pretty to look at, but can obstruct the intestinal tract.
Make sure decorations are safely presented. Candles inside carved pumpkins are fire hazards if toppled by a curious dog or cat. Keep electrical cords for holiday lights out of reach as well.
4. Pet costumes can cause catastrophes. Lots of pet owners dress up their dogs and cats for Halloween. We love having them visit our animal hospital in costume. If you are inclined to dress up Fido or Fluffy, please make sure their attire is comfortable.
A tight costume that constricts movement or respiration is a health hazard. Don’t let costume hats impede vision or hearing. Your dog or cat needs all of his senses intact.
So go ahead and celebrate Halloween, but keep an eye out for pet hazards. Buy the candy. Plan the costume. Map out your Trick or Treat route. With a little planning, Halloween can be fun for everyone.