Pumpkins and costumes and candy, oh my! While dressing up in costumes and going trick-or-treating is one of the biggest fall highlights, there are some important things pet owners should be aware of going into the holiday season. Here are our top 5 tips for pet safety this Halloween!
1. Keep the sweets out of reach
This one may seem obvious, but all the extra Halloween candy lying around the house can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet. Not only can Halloween candy cause upset stomach in pets, but some ingredients commonly found in candy, like chocolate (especially dark chocolate) and xylitol (an artificial sugar) can be toxic to pets. Call your veterinarian immediately if you know or suspect that your pet may have ingested Halloween candy for further instructions.
2. Avoid trick-or-treating…with your pets!
While it may seem like a fun idea to dress your pet up and take them trick-or-treating, Halloween can be very scary and confusing for pets. Some pets might not understand the costumes and become fearful. Fearful pets are significantly more likely to flee and may be more likely to act aggressively towards costume wearers. If you do take your pet out, ensure that they are leashed appropriately and wearing updated tag identification.
3. Mind the door
If you are staying home to hand out candy this year, make sure that your pet is safely confined somewhere in the home away from the front door. Pets may try to run out the front door if given the chance, especially if they are already riled up from the constant knocking on the door or ringing of the doorbell.
4. And the décor, too!
It is also important to be mindful of the decorations you leave out. Lit candles may pose a fire hazard if knocked over by your pet. While battery-operated lights and glow sticks are a safer alternative, watch out for pets who are known to chew, as the chemicals in batteries can be toxic and cause burns if punctured. Alternatively, old or moldy pumpkins or corn cobs can cause gastrointestinal problems if ingested, including vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal obstruction.
5. Bring your cats inside
We strongly recommend keeping your dogs and cats inside, but it is especially important to bring your cats in during Halloween (especially black cats!). Cats, especially black ones, can be involved in cruel and violent pranks during Halloween. Did you know many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the month of October? As shocking as these cruel behaviors are, the threat to cats around Halloween is very real, and we recommend exercising caution in the weeks leading up to Halloween.