You may enjoy a good Halloween scare, but certainly, not one that involves your pet’s safety. For you, Halloween may be a hoot, but the ghostly decor, creepy costumes, and a perpetually ringing doorbell can make the evening a real nightmare for your pet. To keep your pet safe and fear-free this Halloween, read our Caring Hands Animal Hospital team’s tips.
Halloween candy is anything but sweet for pets
Sure, Halloween candy is technically for kids, but many adults like to stock up early and maybe sneak a few tastes for quality assurance purposes, of course. In most households, Halloween candy appears long before October 31 and sticks around months after the kids come home with their tasty loot. Remember, pets are opportunistic, and you should keep the following Halloween treats stored securely out of your pet’s reach:
- Chocolates — Chocolates, especially dark or baking chocolate, can be deadly for dogs and cats. If your pet has ingested chocolate, their signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.
- Xylitol — This ingredient is commonly used in sugar-free candy. If ingested, xylitol can cause an extreme drop in a pet’s blood glucose, leading to incoordination and seizures.
- Raisins — No one likes to get raisins in their trick-or-treat bag, but don’t give them to your pet, because these candy-like fruits can cause them to experience kidney failure.
- Nuts — Some nuts, such as macadamia nuts, are toxic to pets, but all nuts are high in fat, and can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset and possibly pancreatitis. Do not feed your pet any nuts.
- Candy wrappers — Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks may look attractive to your pet, but if they ingest this debris, your furry pal can experience an intestinal blockage.
With Halloween’s frivolity and commotion, you may not be keeping as close an eye on your pet’s whereabouts as usual. However, if you know or suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, immediately call Caring Hands Animal Hospital or Animal Poison Control.
Pet costumes are cute but not always comfortable
Ah, the irresistible allure of pet costumes! Who can resist dressing up their furry friend in a pumpkin suit, turning them into a tiny taco, or decking them out as Yoda for Halloween? However, before you start fantasizing about the cutest pet ensemble, consider these comfort and safety concerns:
- Movement restriction — A costume that restricts a pet’s natural movement, can cause them to experience mobility issues, hindering their ability to walk, jump, or turn around.
- Sensory overload — Costumes that include hats or hoods can interfere with a pet’s peripheral vision and limit their hearing, which can be disorienting and stressful.
- Unfamiliarity — Pets are unaccustomed to wearing elaborate clothing. The new sensation of having fabric around their body can be uncomfortable.
- Overheating — Pets can easily become overheated from wearing a costume made of thick material for a long period.
- Choking hazards — Small, easily detachable parts, such as buttons or bows, can be choking hazards.
Costumes can make for delightful Halloween memories with your pet, but the garment should never come at the expense of your furry pal’s wellbeing. If your pet appears uncomfortable, immediately take them out of their costume. Discomfort signs include folded down ears, refusing to move, pacing, tucking their tail, and hunching over. If your pet isn’t a costume fan, but you still want them to look festive, a simple Halloween-themed bandana can be as cute as a costume and far less intrusive.
Trick-or-treating is no treat for pets
Trick-or-treating is a timeless Halloween tradition. For kids, the activity is the holiday’s highlight. For parents, trick-or-treating provides endless photo ops. However, for pets—well, let’s just say that walking the neighborhood in the dark and ringing doorbells are more trick than treat. Even the most social pet may not find the experience as enchanting as their human counterparts. If you bring your pet trick-or-treating, they face safety risks that include:
- Stranger danger — From kids dressed as zombies to adults donning spooky masks, pets can find these odd human transformations quite unsettling.
- Noise sensitivity — Excited children’s chatter, constantly ringing doorbells, and the occasional scream can be too much for your pet.
- Increased traffic — On Halloween night, your street and neighborhood may have more people and traffic than on any other night of the year. These conditions can be hazardous for pets, especially those who might escape in a moment of panic.
Trick-or-treating is best left to the two-legged household members. Your pet will be happier spending a quiet evening at home, away from the excitement. Set up a quiet, comfortable space for your pet, away from the chaos. Provide comfortable bedding, a few favorite toys, and a long-lasting treat to keep them content and distracted, and play calm, music or television to mask some of the noise.
Halloween can be fun for pets if you take precautions to keep them safe and fright-free. If your four-legged friend gets into any Halloween mischief, contact our Caring Hands Animal Hospital team.