Halloween is great fun, but unfortunately is a very dangerous time for pets. In this article, you’ll learn about the most common threats to your pet’s health and well-being. You’ll also learn tips on how to avoid those threats so that you can plan a fun, safe, and worry-free holiday for both your two and four-legged family members!
Danger 1 – Candy
Sadly, many dogs and cats are harmed every Halloween because of candy-related incidents. Candy is probably the largest threat to your pet’s well-being on Halloween, as it is commonly left in places where your pet can access it. Make sure that ALL candy is stored in a place that your dog or cat is unable to access, such as a closed cabinet.
Chocolate (especially dark or baking chocolate) is very dangerous to dogs and cats, and can even be lethal. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, or seizures. Halloween candy also often contains the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is very dangerous for dogs – even small amounts can cause sudden drops in blood sugar, causing seizures. And while xylitol is yet to be linked to danger in felines, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Danger 2 – Animal Cruelty
Tragically, there is a spike in animal cruelty cases around Halloween. Vicious Halloween “pranksters” have been known to tease, injure, steal, or even kill pets on Halloween night. Black cats are at especially high risk for these heinous crimes. In fact, many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during October because of this problem.
Please, keep your pets out of the front yard during Halloween. This is incredibly important. Sometimes the danger extends a few days before and after Halloween too. And make sure your dog or cat is microchipped. If they aren’t, call us – it’s quick, painless and affordable.
Danger 3 – The Door
During Halloween night, your pet has a much higher chance of running away than normal occasions. This is because doors are frequently opening, there are numerous strangers around, there is often a lot of noise and commotion, and pets are often highly stressed. All of these factors make it imperative that you take extra precautions to ensure that your pet can’t escape.
Make sure your pet can’t get to the door that’s being opened for trick-or-treaters. You’ll either want to make sure that they’re gated into an area that doesn’t have access to the door, or to even give them a secure room that they’ll feel comfortable in, with no way to escape. Besides, dogs are especially territorial, and even normally kind dogs can growl at trick-or-treaters if they feel strangers are invading their home.
Danger 4 – Costumes
There’s nothing we love more than an adorable pet costume! However, for some pets, it causes a large amount of stress. The ASPCA recommends only putting your pet in a costume if they show no signs of anxiety or discomfort when wearing it. And if you do use a costume for your pet, you’ll need to make absolutely sure that it doesn’t inhibit their breathing, movement or the ability to open or close their mouth. Also, make sure nothing is dangling from the costume – this can often be a choking hazard, as many pets will gnaw at it. And oversized costumes can get caught on various items, which can lead to potentially dangerous situations.
Danger 5 – Decorations and Wires
Jack-O-Lanterns are fun and festive, but they are often knocked over by curious or unsuspecting pets. Alarmingly, this is a fairly easy way to start a fire. Curious kittens are at especially high risk of getting burned by investigating the glowing object. Other wires and decorations can present dangers or even strangling hazards, so make sure that any such object is carefully out of reach of your dog or cat.
From all of us at Harbor Pines Veterinary Center, we wish you and your pets a very happy Halloween! Just make sure to follow these tips, and you’ll have a fun, safe and worry-free time! And as always, know that we’re here if you ever need us or have any questions!