Halloween is a time for spooky stories, treat-or-treating, and ghoulish costumes; but it can also be a spooky time for pets, too, especially when we are not prepared. With Halloween’s delicious treats and candy snacks lying around in bowls and bags, it’s no wonder the week leading up to Halloween is one of the busiest times of year for the Pet Poison Helpline and veterinary clinics.
While potential poisoning is a major concern, there are numerous other risks associated with the holiday – from simply being too distracted and leaving our pet unsupervised, to the stress of frequent noise and strangers at the door.
No Tricks, No Treats – Halloween Pet Safety
There’s no reason, however, why the spook-tacular fun of the season should impede our pet’s well-being and safety. Keep these simple tips in mind as you are preparing for the tricks and treats of one of the most colorful nights of the year.
- Keep all candy, baked goods, and other snacks out of reach.
Pet parents often take extra care when it comes to chocolate, but the sugar substitute Xylitol is extremely toxic and can be found in beverages, sugar-free candies, baked goods, and gum. Rather than try and guess what product is safe versus potentially toxic, keep all treats in the hands of spooky visitors and away from pets.
If you suspect your pet has ingested Xylitol or other toxic substances (including the liquid inside glow sticks), call us immediately. Toxins can rapidly cause life-threatening liver and kidney damage. Quick response is key. Our emergency clinic is open until midnight.
- Create a safe, calm place for your pet.
Frequent visitors, door bells, “trick-or-treat” yells, and costumes can increase your pet’s stress and anxiety, as well as increase the chances of your pet escaping out the door. Before the festivities, find a quiet place where your pet can relax with his or her favorite toys. Make sure your pet’s microchip and identification tag information is current (and we strongly consider microchipping your best friend, if you haven’t already done so).
- Keep candles and lit pumpkins in a secured, pet-free area.
Dogs have a great way of wagging their tails and in the process, knocking things over. Whiskers, noses, and tails can be burned by unattended candles. To avoid accidents with open flames, keep all candles and other lit items out of your pet’s path. Keep an eye out for potential dangers to those pets who love to chew, such as Halloween decorations, glow necklaces and sticks, and wires and chords.
- Bring all pets inside – especially black cats.
Unfortunately, some cruel people have been known to injure, steal, or abuse animals during the Halloween season. Black cats have been targeted with greater frequency. Please make sure you take extra precautions during the holiday week by keeping your pet under your supervision and safely indoors.
- Avoid taking your pet trick-or-treating with you.
With the hoopla and traffic, Halloween eve can be scary for your pet. If you want to include your favorite fur friend in the festivities, consider getting a properly fitted, breathable, and simple costume designed specifically for pets. Your best friend, if he or she isn’t distressed by the coming-and-going of wee, costumed strangers, can join in the merriment in your home, under your loving supervision.
From all of your friends at Pet Medical Center – Chatoak, have a happy, safe Halloween!