By taking a few precautions, you can ensure a happy Halloween for everyone in the family, pets included.
- Chocolate is hazardous to dogs and cats, so be sure to keep the candy bowl out of reach. If your pet discovers the bowl, a dog will consume a large quantity of chocolate since it’s all sitting in one easily accessible place. Cats are less likely to eat chocolate but it’s just as toxic for them as well if they do. Cat’s may want to play with candy since it’s often in shiny wrappers and these shiny candy wrappers and foils can be also be hazardous if swallowed, as intestinal blockage may occur. If you discover your dog or cat has devoured the candy bowl contents, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435).
- Keep pets safely inside, rather than out in the yard or roaming freely. The noise and commotion from trick-or-treaters might spook your cat, and there is always the risk that pranksters may release your dog from the yard. This rule is especially important for black cats, as it is believed that they are often specifically targeted for torment or abuse on and around Halloween.
- The constant ringing of the doorbell may overly excite or frighten your dog or cat. The frequent opening of the door provides both cats and fast moving dogs with the opportunity to escape. It’s a good idea to keep your dogs or cats contained in an area of the home where he can’t easily make a break for the door. This also keeps your pet safely away from trick-or-treaters, who he may not react kindly to out of fear. Your pets should always be wearing ID tags but if they are not, make sure they have their ID tags on them this night especially, just in case.
- Lit pumpkins and wagging tails do not go hand in hand. Keep pumpkins out of reach to prevent burns and fires (not to mention smashed pumpkins). Pumpkin is a great way to naturally cure stomach upset BUT if consumed in large quantities, pumpkins can cause stomach issues and intestinal blockage. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
- If you have a dog or cat who’s dressing up this year, make sure your pet is comfortable in his or her costume. It may look cute, but remember that your dog or cat is a living animal, not a dress-up doll, and any restriction of movement or breathing is bad news. Check to make sure there are no loose parts that could get caught and strangle him, and that there is nothing on the costume he can try to eat. Don’t leave your dog or cat in a costume unsupervised. Dress them up, get your pics and take the costume off as soon as you can. That way you have the pics you need to win that online costume contest and your dog or cat can get back to being a dog or cat.
- Don’t put decorations out where your dog or cat can reach them. Decorations are great but are not made with pet safety in mind. They have parts and pieces that will break off if handled roughly or chewed on and these parts and pieces can really mess of your dog or cats internal organs. Every pet owner knows their pets and if you have a mischievous cat or pup, you really need to keep these decorations out of reach. They may get bored while you are at work and decide to play with these fun new items that have appeared all over their home. It’s natural that they will want to investigate.
A lot of this is common sense but it’s always too brush up every year on the basic rules of safety to make sure everyone is safe.