Trick or treat! Halloween is here again! Costumes are picked, neighborhood routes are planned, and candy favorites are much anticipated! Halloween is a magical time of year for children (and those young at heart), but what about your pets?
Some pets don’t mind the sights and sounds of Halloween, while others have a hard time with it. Some dogs bark with every knock on the door or shout of “Trick or Treat!” and some cats try to escape – either through an open door or under the bed.
If Halloween is overwhelming for your pet, here are some tips to make sure that Halloween is safe and enjoyable for everyone in your home.
- Keep decorations animal friendly. With the swipe of a tail, a candle-lit Jack-o-lantern can become a fire hazard. Also, be mindful of where you place the spooky spider webs – both in and outside your home. The fake webs can get caught in fur, faces, and paws, and depending on how they are hung, can pose a danger to migrating birds and butterflies.
- Secure your pet. While it might seem fun to dress Fido up in a unicorn or dragon costume and have him “help” give out candy, he might become anxious or territorial with the constant knocking and children clamoring through the door for candy. Keeping your pet somewhere safe in the house, like a bedroom or basement, with a television or radio playing, will make the evening easier and more enjoyable for everyone.
- Leave your dog at home. A little extra exercise for Fido on Halloween night may seem like a good idea but the extra people and all those strange costumes could cause your dog to become agitated. You know your dog best and know what he can tolerate. If you decide to take your dog with you, keep him on a leash, close to you, and under control. The hub-bub of the night may cause a usually friendly dog to bark, growl, or snap at children or other dogs.
- No sharing of candy! Make sure to keep the candy away from your pets. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures, and at times be fatal. Gum and candies sweetened with xylitol can cause liver failure even when consumed in very small amounts. Foil and cellophane wrappers can cause intestinal upset or even an intestinal blockage.
In addition to planning the best Halloween for the kids in your home and neighborhood, take some time to plan how you can keep your pets safe and happy once the ghosts, goblins, and witches come to your door!