HOW TO KEEP PETS SAFE DURING HALLOWEEN. Don’t ruin nap time for yourself or your dog by having a frightening experience when bringing him to the vet. Here’s everything you need to know about keeping pets safe around Halloween.
STEER CLEAR OF CHOCOLATE
Being a responsible pet owner is important for both your furry and human family members. But remember chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats, so how much you allow them to eat can impact the rest of their health.
Chocolate is rich in theobromine, which is a poisonous and sometimes lethal compound that can cause seizures, blood pressure changes, overheating, and even death. It can take hours before symptoms show up and by that time they have ingested so many berries that it’s really not worth the cost of treating a severe case as it would reach upwards of $3,000.
AVOID SUGARY CANDY
Sugars found in commercial chocolates should be avoided entirely because they can lead to issues such as gastrointestinal upset and cavities. Owners who are thinking of buying these ingredients for their pets should make sure to read the nutrition labels, as misleading names such as fructose, corn syrup, glucose, sucralose, maltodextrin, and dextrose may hide items with sugar content.
LOOK OUT FOR SUGAR-FREE ALTERNATIVES TOO
Xylitol has both a sweet and harmful taste that makes it appealing to many dogs. It has fast-acting effects, is often found in candy, and is listed on the nutrition labels of sugar-free peanut butter, gum, cake mix and more. There are several ways you can avoid exposure to xylitol and diminish potential consequences. If you do choose to eat sweets made with xylitol, make sure they’re made just for dogs or cats.
DON’T LEAVE GLOW STICKS AND JEWELRY OUT
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a common item dogs ingest on Halloween are glow sticks. One of the top items that can cause problem is candy and raisins. Glow sticks can cause excessive salivation and burning sensation, so stay away from plastic jewelry, particularly the glow-in-the-dark kind.
BE CAREFUL WITH NOISE-SENSITIVE PETS
A night of loud noises can scare or even terrify any pooch or feline, but our pets are most sensitive to sounds they’re not familiar with. Consider events where the noise volume is lower and there’s less crowding. Halloween can be a fun time for pets, as it’s a nocturnal holiday.
KEEP JACK AWAY FROM JACK-O’-LANTERNS
Pumpkin can be one of your dog’s favorite foods, but rotting porch pumpkins should not be one of them. Even decomposing squashes can have harmful bacteria that can cause nausea and diarrhea in dogs and cats alike. Therefore, it’s important to keep lit candles away from Jack-o’-lanterns for the safety of both you and your pet. A wiggly tail from a curious pet could cause cartilage damage from the swat.
KNOW THAT MASKS AND SOME COSTUMES CAN CAUSE DOGS TO REACT
It’s important to take into account your dog’s reaction when considering a scary costume. Sometimes, masks can actually cause fear and aggression in timid pups. Before heading out with an outfit, try it on in front of Fido to make sure they won’t become reactive. If you’re not confident that leather will be suitable, it might be best to celebrate at home and not risk scaring your furry friend or pushing them over the edge.
CHOOSE YOUR DECOR WISELY
Holidays are just around the corner, which means decorating the house is on your to-do list. Of course, you want to make sure you’re putting pieces away that aren’t hazardous to your pets. Common decorations such as faux spiderwebs, balls, and corncobs can cause blockages in their respiratory and digestive tracts if swallowed. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all of the festive elements; maybe just choose a less accessible ornament for now!
USE CAUTION WITH EPILEPTIC DOGS AND CATS
Many pets, especially dogs and cats with a history of photosensitive epilepsy, may have a seizure when exposed to lights that flicker or flash. Lights (strobe lights, strands of lightbulbs with a flickering pattern, TVs, and projectors) may cause neurons in your pet’s brain to fire abnormally and trigger a seizure.
While seizures are usually mild and short lived, prolonged episodes can cause lifelong health issues. Ask the host what they expect the party to be like before you take your dog there. Will there be lots of kids or animals? Knowing what’s in store will spare you some stress if you have a reactive or epileptic pet. If you think the sights will trigger your pets it’s best to leave them at home.
PICK COSTUMES CAREFULLY
If you are looking to dress up your dog and have some creative fun, there are a few things to keep in mind. Costumes should not be tight or restrictive, as they can cause irritation, hair loss, and interfere with walking.
When buying costumes for your dog it should also avoid embellishments, rhinestones, or beads that your pet could swallow. It is important to use caution when selecting materials for the costume — particularly if your dog has allergies. First make sure the costume fits properly, and then let Fido try it on before taking them out in public!
HAVE CURRENT ID TAGS AND A REFLECTIVE HARNESS
As this time of the year rolls around, there are plenty of strategies you can put into place to ensure that your pet has the best experience possible.
One strategy would be to watch your pet’s behavior in advance and make sure they’re not anxious or otherwise reactive. If they display either of these reactions, they need extra supervision and caution while they’re out and about amongst a variety of other animals at Halloween. Choose to use ID tags with contact info on them, reflective dog gear, or GPS gear for maximum peace of mind.
MAKING HALLOWEEN AS SAFE AS “PAWSSIBLE”
There is nothing more fun than trick-or-treating with your pet, just make sure the activities are safe and do it in moderation. If you have a dog, bring along treats just for them and store human treats up high. Remember to toss out pumpkins when they start to decompose and be careful about what decor your purchase for the spooky party. Have a safe and spooky time with your Halloweenie pet – but remember, it’s up to us parents to take care of our pets!