Halloween is coming soon! The Center for Disease Control has published its safety precautions along with suggested low-risk activities. Whether kids will be trick-or-treating or not in your area, there can still be lots of Halloween fun. Kids can still dress up in their costumes. And, there are other ways they can have their “trick-or-treat” fun such as having a treasure hunt around the house. As you put up the decorations and prepare, we would like to share some tips to keep your pets safe during Halloween.
1. No candy for pets!
We cannot overstress this point. Candy is the number 1 danger for pets during Halloween. Candy can contain ingredients that are toxic and can cause death in pets. For example:
- Chocolate: Chocolate is toxic to pets. It can cause hyperactivity, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding, tremors, seizures, heart attack, and even death.
- Xylitol: Xylitol is a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum. It is especially toxic and can be fatal for dogs and rabbits. It can cause seizures and liver failure in your pet.
- Raisins: Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs and, potentially in cats. Some candies contain raisins such as Nestlé’s Chunky. There are also chocolate covered raisins – a double danger for pets.
- Too much candy: Even if the candy does not contain chocolate, Xylitol, or raisins, too much sugar and fat in sweets can lead to pancreatitis in pets. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and very painful and can be fatal.
So please, keep candy out of reach of your pets. And, educate your children so they don’t give candy to your pets. Especially watch the little ones who want to share with their pets.
2. Choose pet costumes wisely.
Some pets like to wear costumes and it can be fun dressing them up. If you do put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits and doesn’t restrict their movement in any way. Your pet should be able to move, breathe, eat and drink, and see as they would normally. Make sure there are no parts to the costume that your pet could bite off and swallow or choke on such as rubber bands or costume jewelry. Don’t force your pet to wear a costume. This will just cause them added stress.
3. Keep children’s costumes and accessories away from pets.
Pets can become very curious and ingest something that could potentially harm them or even be fatal. Costumes particularly can have parts or accessories that can be dangerous to pets. For example, string can obstruct your pet’s gut and intestines. Especially with cats, this can become life-threatening. Therefore, keep costumes and accessories away from pets.
4. Keep your pets indoors.
The streets are not a safe place for pets on Halloween. Firstly, they can become scared or anxious with the added activity in the streets and bolt away from their owners. Secondly, some people have ill intent for pets, especially cats. Pranksters particularly target black cats during Halloween. Sadly, we see pets injured because they were out of doors on Halloween and became the target of a cruel prank. So, we highly recommend you bring your pets indoors before it gets dark.
5. Put your pet in a safe space.
If you will be having trick-or-treaters it is best to have your pet away in a separate room. Many pets become excited or anxious when doorbells ring and strangers approach. It is best if they can be in a room away from the noise and excitement. You can give dogs and cats calming treats and/or play calming music to distract them.
6. Make sure your pet can be identified in case it gets out and lost.
Sadly, we hear about pet parents losing their pets because the pet did not have any identification. While collars with ID tags provide some identification, they can slip off or be taken off a pet. The best solution is to have your pet microchipped. The average cost to have a microchip done by a veterinarian is around $45. It is a one–time fee and often includes registration in a pet recovery database.
7. Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns well out of reach of pets.
What would Halloween be without candles and Jack O Lanterns? They are part of what gives us that Halloween spooky mood. However fun, they can be dangerous if you have pets running around your house that can knock them over. And, it doesn’t take long for a fire to spread. Per the Dept. of Homeland Security it takes just two minutes for a fire to become life threatening. So, if you are going to have candles and/or Jack O’ Lanterns, make sure they are out of reach of your pets! Better yet, purchase flameless candles (e.g. LED candles) that you can display and put in your Jack O’ Lantern.
Some fun trivia: Jack O’ Lanterns originated in Ireland and Scotland back in the 1800s. They have a fable about a stingy man named Jack who cheated the devil. You can read about “Stingy Jack” at History.Com. And, if you need some ideas of activities for the kids, see what they suggest at Halloween2020.org.
We wish you from Amigo Animal Clinic a happy Halloween!