5 Pet Safety Tips For Halloween That'll Guarantee Your Fur Baby Enjoys The Holiday, Too
If there's one thing I love more than Halloween candy — I'm talking about the really good stuff, like Reese's and KitKats — it's pets on Halloween. Whether it's a cat dressed as a unicorn or a puppy wearing his fiercest pirate outfit, I'm a total sucker for anything and everything pet-related during the Halloween season. But making sure the furry friend in your life stays safe and comfortable during the All Hallows' madness is just as important as posing for the cutest doggone IG photo you'll ever post. Once you're armed with a few pet safety tips for Halloween from veterinarian experts, you'll be free to enjoy the sugary festivities worry-free.
Most pet parents are familiar with the dangers of giving their fur babies chocolate, but you might not immediately think of some of the other potential issues surrounding common Halloween traditions. So, instead of having to spend the night worrying that your precious feline might put her paw in a spooky candle, or that your beloved pup might start gnawing on the electrical wires of your Halloween lights display, take a few minutes to pet-proof your home ahead of the big day. Of course, a big part of the holiday is having fun, so be sure to plan festive treats for your pet, too!
Be careful around decorations
I love a pumpkin spice candle as much as the next person, but just be careful about where you're putting the decoration if you're lighting one on All Hallows' Eve. "Your pets can burn themselves or knock over a candle, creating a fire hazard, so keep lit candles or pumpkins far from wagging tails and curious noses and whiskers," Dr. Ari Zabell, DVM, DABVP, of Banfield Pet Hospital, tells Elite Daily over email. He also suggests double-checking all electric twinkle lights and extension cords to make sure your fur baby won't be able to chew on them and accidentally suffer from electric shock.
Keep an eye on the candy bowl
The "treat" in trick-or-treating is pretty much everybody's favorite part of Halloween. But what seems like a delicious candy bar to you could be deadly to your little pup. Besides the usual culprits like chocolate and candy, Dr. Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet expert, says there's another important ingredient to watch out for. "Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in candy, gum, mints and baked goods, is toxic to pets and can cause liver damage," she tells Elite Daily in an email.
If your fur baby is particularly resourceful and has a habit of getting into things when you're not looking, be sure that you store your candy for trick-or-treaters well out of your pet's reach. Aside from the dangers of chocolate or raisins, even cellophane, plastic, and paper from candy wrappers, as well as lollipop sticks, can all cause gastrointestinal upset in your pet, according to Freeman.
But your kitty doesn't have to feel totally left out. If she's whining for her turn at the treat bowl, fill a spooky pet bowl with some Halloween treats for cats that she can enjoy, so that she stays safe and she gets to have some fun.
Ease into the costume
Not all pets love the feeling of dressing up, even on Halloween. If your kitten or pup isn't quite sold on the idea that he would look adorable in the costume you so lovingly picked out, try slowly introducing the idea rather than springing it on them on the holiday itself.
"Make sure costumes include eye and ear holes, and if they don’t, consider removing whole portions of the costume to ensure your pet’s ability to see, hear, and breathe," says Freeman. Also, she adds, be sure to check for anything in the costume that could be a tripping hazard for your fur baby.
And, just like you would for yourself, remember to take the night's weather into consideration when dressing your pet, especially if you're going to be venturing outdoors. Freeman explains that dogs can overheat pretty easily, so you want to opt for something that's not too bulky if Oct. 31 ends up being warm where you live. If your pet will be joining the trick-or-treating festivities, make sure they're visible to drivers on the road by using a reflective collar, harness, or leash, Freeman suggests. "In the end, the top priority should be your pet’s comfort level," she tells Elite Daily.
Keep the spooky level to a minimum
Whether you prefer a ghoulish Halloween or you're more into the creative costume and the candy, don't forget that the holiday can potentially be scary for pets. Anything out of their normal routine could lead to some anxiety, from an influx of people in costumes flooding the neighborhood streets, to consistent knocking on your door.
If you have a particularly nervous pet, Dr. Zabell recommends keeping them in a separate room of the house, away from the front door, so they don’t attempt an escape or feel threatened by the steady stream of dressed-up visitors.
With the door being opened throughout the night to welcome eager trick-or-treaters, there's also a chance that your furry pal might dart out of the house. If you haven't done so already, "microchipping your pets increases your chances of a reunion in the event of a separation," Dr. Zabell says. "In addition to keeping up-to-date identification tags on your pet at all times, talk with your veterinarian about microchipping."
Let your furry friends join in the fun
While it's certainly important to make sure your pets are safe on Halloween, don't forget to bring them into the night's festivities. You might consider having a party for your friends and their mild-mannered pets — costumes included, of course. And nobody has to be left out; even if you don't have a dog or a cat, costumes for guinea pigs are a thing, and they are so darn cute that I almost want to get a guinea pig just for the amazing outfits.