Toil and trouble: Four Halloween pet dangers

 In Blog, Pet care

dog-wearing-costume

Halloween is a fun night for humans and pets alike – meeting new people, fun treats, staying up late, a general air of excitement. But for our fur babies, Halloween poses a few tricks along with the treats.

Trick-or-treating: fun or frightening?
Whether you’re staying home to hand out candy or hitting the pavement to go door-to-door, be certain of your pets’ affinity (or lack thereof) for strangers. Having a slew of people coming to your door can be stressful for your dogs and cats. Just the sound of the doorbell may send them into barking fits or running underneath the bed.

If your pets are scared or aggressive around strangers, that doesn’t mean you have to turn off the lights and lock the door. Just corral your four-legged family members to a room or section of the house that’s far from the door, and provide the items they need to feel safe: a kennel, favorite toys and blankets, and maybe a special treat. Alternatively, leave pups and kitties in the house and open the garage to hand out treats from there, or set up a table and chair at the edge of the driveway.

If you’re venturing out, simply leave the pets at home in a safe area, and turn your porch light out or hang a (respectful!) sign to discourage trick-or-treaters from ringing your doorbell when you aren’t there.

Have pets that are super friendly? There are still precautions you should take. A pet gate at your front door offers a barrier between your pet and children who might be frightened and best ensures your pets don’t zoom out the door in excitement. If you take your dog door-to-door with you, make sure he is on a leash connected to a secure harness.

Get your pets microchipped before Halloween, and put identification tags on their collars – if they do manage to escape, these give them the best chance of returning home.

Watch for tricks in your treats
It’s common knowledge that dogs shouldn’t have chocolate, but you shouldn’t give Daisy a Starburst or a handful of candy corn, either. Plenty of candies contain xylitol, which is also toxic to pets. Even the treats that are healthier for your kids are a no-no for dogs – no raisins!

Keep all candy well out of reach of your pets. If you have a tall dog or a crafty cat, store candy in a container with a lid, or in a closed pantry. Keep a close eye on your pets so that no one tries to slip them a sweet.

If you do catch Daisy with a pile of Snickers wrappers around her, don’t panic. Call us and explain what happened – it might be a matter of waiting and watching, or you might need to bring her in. Even if you think Daisy hasn’t ingested enough to be a real danger, call right away. It’s better to call and not need us than to need us and not call.

Décor dangers
A flickering light is attractive to dogs and cats alike, making real candles in your jack-o’-lantern an obvious danger (especially if your pet likes to eat pumpkin!). If you plan to have your pets and your pumpkins in the same vicinity, a battery-operated candle is the way to go.

Keep an eye on pets who like to chew. Plenty of decorations in your and your neighbors’ yards are plugged in, and you don’t want a ruined blow-up ghost, or worse, an electrocuted dog.

Speaking of blow-up decorations, plenty of Halloween decorations are big and make loud, scary sounds. If your dog spooks easily, reconsider whether it’s a good idea to take her with you door-to-door.

Don’t let costumes make your pet claws-trophobic
Some pets wear costumes without a problem, while some shake them off the first chance they get. Regardless of which category your pet falls in, keep a constant eye while they’re in garb. Not only is it a hazard if, say, your pet gets a paw stuck in the neck hole, but if they chew the costume, they could ingest fluff or fabric. Do not use hair sprays or dyes on your pet that aren’t meant for use on animals, and don’t use small accessories such as necklaces on your pet.

There’s no reason your fur babies can’t get into the spooky spirit, as long as you take some steps to keep them safe and happy.

emergency-roomVeterinary criticalist Natasha Hodgson at AESC