#1: Avoid decorating your home in areas your pet can reach
Pets are naturally inquisitive, and your furry pal is likely to investigate unusual additions to their home. Fake spiderwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and spooky animated figures can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health, if they gnaw on decorations. Cats are especially intrigued by fake spider webs, and may ingest the sticky material or the fake spiders decorating the web, which can lead to a life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Old, drooping pumpkins can sicken your pet if they decide to chew on this decoration. And, those creepy electronic decorations can lead to serious burns—or worse, a house fire—if your pet nibbles on the power cords. To keep your pet safe from your decorations, place all eerie objects well out of reach or behind barricades.
#2: Keep all your Halloween candy to yourself—none for your pet
Although you’ve likely been taught to share, in the case of Halloween candy and your pet, keep it all to yourself. Your furry pal may drool over your kids’ candy haul on October 31, but those tasty treats need to be kept out of paws’ reach.
- Chocolate — The darker the chocolate, the more toxic for your pet. As this sweet treat becomes more bitter, the theobromine content increases, which is the caffeine-like compound that leads to toxicity in pets. If your pet ingests enough chocolate, that can lead to cardiac and neurological issues, in addition to gastrointestinal distress.
- Sugar-free treats — Sugar-free candy and gum is often sweetened with xylitol in place of sugar. Reduced sugar makes for healthier treats, but can be fatal for pets when replaced with xylitol. If ingested, xylitol can cause a severe drop in blood sugar, and acute, debilitating liver failure.
- Raisins — Tiny boxes of raisins or the dried fruits that are found in trail mix can prove fatal for your pet. While the cause is unknown, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, and only a handful of these fruits can provoke such a toxic response.
- Snack and candy bags — Although the items inside snack and candy bags can be dangerous, so can the bags themselves. Plastic and foil bags and wrappers can wad up in your pet’s intestinal tract, causing a blockage that needs surgical removal. So, the candy may have all been eaten, but your pet is still not safe from danger. Ensure you throw away all wrappers in a secure trash can, to keep your pet safe.
If you want to let your four-legged friend join in the Halloween candy fun, offer them safe, healthy options. Try fresh veggies, like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, or small pieces of fruit, such as apples, bananas, and watermelon, to help your pet feel like they’re receiving treats, too.
#3: Let your pet wear their favorite costume—their birthday suit
While your dainty Chihuahua may look adorable as a fierce lion, your furry pal likely prefers a different costume—their birthday suit. Costumes can be hazardous for pets, by leading to choking and gastrointestinal blockages. Masks that slip over your pet’s eyes or around their neck, restricting vision or breathing, can also cause panic. If you want to dress your pet up for the holiday, choose a festive collar or bandana rather than a full-body costume.
#4: Keep your pet indoors at night
Nighttime can be full of dangers for your pet on Halloween, especially if neighborhood troublemakers choose October 31 to cause mischief. When letting your dog in the backyard at night, ensure the area is brightly lit, and they are always supervised. Also, keep your cat indoors at all times, to prevent any accidents or injuries.
#5: Ensure your pet’s identification forms are up to date
With the front door continuously opening for trick-or-treaters, your pet has ample opportunity to slip out and run off. Ensure a happy reunion by updating collar identification tags and microchip registration information. Double check that the ID tags contain your current phone number, as does the microchip company data.
#6: Avoid frightening your pet with scary sounds
Many pets suffer from noise aversion, from thunderstorms or other loud sounds. Avoid frightening your pet during an already unsettling holiday by skipping the scary soundtrack. If your neighbors’ homes are emanating eerie sounds, help your pet relax in a soundproof sanctuary. Outfit the quietest room in your home with your pet’s necessities (e.g., a cozy bed, food puzzle, and favorite toy). If your pet is exceptionally uncomfortable with scary Halloween sounds, discuss additional calming options with your Somerset Animal Hospital veterinarian.
Save yourself from a frightening situation by getting your pet microchipped before Halloween. Contact our Somerset Animal Hospital team to schedule a microchipping appointment, or to have your pet’s chip checked, to ensure it’s working correctly.