Many dogs and cats thrive on routine, which means that the noise and activity of Halloween can be upsetting and confusing. Furthermore, holiday decorations and parties can pose dangers to your pets.
Keeping your animals safe during Halloween requires just a bit of extra forethought. But by following these thirteen easy and common-sense suggestions, you can make sure that Halloween is fun and stress-free for every member of your family.
- Many children can be frightened by overly friendly dogs, and the door opening and closing provides a great opportunity for curious pets to slip outside. Unless they are extremely well behaved, don’t allow your pets to come to the door with you. Instead, keep your dogs and cats in a quiet, secure room with food, water, litter, toys, and a comfortable place to relax.
- If the sound of the doorbell is frightening or stimulating to your dog, consider taping a sign over your doorbell asking trick-or-treaters to knock instead.
- Urban legends suggest that cats - and black cats specifically - are in danger of being targeted by violence during late October. In reality, the increased danger is slight and is probably the result of local kids’ pranks. However, it certainly won’t harm your indoor/outdoor cats to be kept inside around Halloween. Most cats won’t be thrilled to be outside amidst the chaos of trick-or-treating anyway.
- Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, due to the presence of Theobromine and, to a lesser extent, caffeine. Both compounds are stimulants that can cause nausea, vomiting, and even death. Keep candy bowls out of your animals’ reach and make sure your kids’ goody bags are also untouchable. If you suspect that your dog or cat has ingested chocolate, call your vet.
- Decorative corn and pumpkins can also cause stomach upset if consumed, and these decorations should be kept in areas where your pets can’t access them.
- Animals should be supervised around decorations. Ensure that your pets aren’t nibbling on wires or other trimmings. Do not leave animals alone with lit candles.
- Having a party? It’s always a good idea to keep your pets out of the action in the same quiet room described above.
- Speaking of things that animals shouldn’t eat - do not feed pets alcohol or other intoxicants. And don’t let party guests do it either! Cats and most dogs are much smaller than humans and are affected differently by intoxicants.
- Pet costumes are adorable! But before you take your dog out on the town, try on the costume and make sure that it’s comfortable for your pet. And if your animal really doesn’t want to wear it, don’t force them. Your pet’s stress and upset is not worth the cute picture.
- While your pet is wearing a costume, keep an eye on them to make sure that they are safe - that they aren’t eating the costume, that they can see properly, and that they remain comfortable. If in doubt, take it off.
- Some dogs will love to come trick-or-treating, while some will not enjoy the fuss and commotion. If your dog accompanies you, they should be properly leashed and should act like good citizens - no barking or jumping on kids.
- It’s a good idea to have reflective patches on your children’s costumes so that cars can see them. Similarly, put reflective patches on your dog’s harness, collar, or leash if they come trick-or-treating with you.
- Whether they are staying inside or coming along, dogs and cats should all wear proper identification with your contact information, just in case they wander off. Take this opportunity to look into ID microchips as well. This is a tiny electronic ID inserted under the pet’s skin. They are relatively cheap, painless, and can can help reunite you with your pet if they become lost. Ask your vet for more info about ID microchips.
And don’t forget to have fun! Happy Halloween from HSEC!