Costumes, decorations, tricks and treats… All of these make for a fun Halloween. But like many other holidays we celebrate, our human activities may put our pets at risk of stress, sickness or danger if we don’t take the right precautions. Below are tips to help you keep your dogs and cats safe around the end of October.
1. Stash the treatsSeveral popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for both cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute Xylitol can cause serious problems in pets. Keep all your Halloween candy and chocolate safely stowed away from your animals.
2. Be careful with the decorations and keep wires out of reachWhile a carved pumpkin is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit Jack-o’-lantern and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively non-toxic, but they can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them. And for some reason dogs love the decorative corn.
3. Take caution with costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause extreme stress. Use costumes sparingly – they look cute but to a dog they often feel like punishment, so please don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know they love it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume doesn’t limit their movement, sight, or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard, and remember that ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
4. Keep reactive or insecure dogs calm
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door, and while we humans like the guests coming, Fido usually hates it! Too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours.
5. Ensure your pet is easily identifiable
While opening the door for guests, if your dog or cat isn’t safely in another part of the house, be sure that they don’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet is wearing proper identification—if for any reason they do escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.
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Note: The tips on this website are general in nature, and A Capable Dog acknowledges that all dogs are individuals. For professional advice, diagnoses and treatment options for your specific dog, consult with your trainer, veterinarian or other animal health practitioner.