Halloween activities are great fun for humans, but can pose some serious threats to pets’ health and safety. Strange-looking visitors at the door and the noisy festivities of Halloween parties can create stress in some dogs and cats. Your dog may snatch candy and treats that make him sick, your pet may become tangled in Halloween decorations and costumes, and while cats don’t generally like sweets, they will often eat the wrappers. Follow these Halloween safety tips for pets to keep your dogs, cats, or more exotic pets from harm:
Pet costumes are cute, but be sure they’re safe.
Your little doggie or kitty may look adorable in its Halloween costume, but be sure your pet’s Halloween costume is safe and comfortable to wear. Make sure the costume fits well and won’t become twisted around your pet’s body. Any Halloween costume parts fastened around your pet’s neck should be loose enough to slip quickly and easily over its head to prevent choking.
Safe pet Halloween costumes won’t limit your pet’s vision or hearing, and your pet should be able to move and run freely (or fly, or slither, if you plan to dress up your cockatiel or boa) while wearing it. There should be no dangling parts to the costume that the pet might chew off. If the costume merely annoys your pet, take it off and see if he’ll let you tie a colorful Halloween bandana loosely around his neck.
Use non-toxic fake blood and makeup on your ghoulish human progeny in case Fluffy decides to clean your little Dracula’s face with her tongue. Search for homemade fake blood and make-up recipes online that can be safely tasted by pets and little people as well as being effectively gross.
Avoid letting your pet eat treats meant for humans.
Halloween parties usually have buffet tables loaded with snacks and punch. Trick-or-treat bags full of tempting candy may be left unattended.. Children are carrying yummy snacks at your dog’s eye level. Most dogs take it however they can get it, off the floor, out of a child’s hands (and many children give willingly), or directly from the counter top.
Too many Halloween party treats meant for humans could make your pet seriously ill. Have some dog or cat kibble handy for your little guests to feed to your pets, if they kids are worried the pets are missing out on the fun. Include the amount of kibble in their daily rations so they don’t overeat!
Empty wrappers can be a problem, too. The pretty paper still smells delicious, and your pet could choke on them. A very small pet could get an intestinal blockage from eating one candy wrapper. Keep candy and other treats out of reach, keep empty wrappers picked up, and put a lid on the trash container.
Keep nervous dogs away from the action.
Some dogs and cats may enjoy Halloween parties and trick-or-treaters, but nervous or timid pets may become panicky in the party chaos, or when strange-looking visitors keep showing up at the door. Excuse your pet from the festivities and keep him in a quiet room until your Halloween party guests have left and trick-or-treat is over for the evening.
Don’t use potentially unsafe Halloween decorations.
Check that your decorations are not arranged in a way that pets could be tangled or caught in them. For example, you probably shouldn’t fasten streamers to the ceiling if your parrot is part of your pirate costume and is likely to fly around the room.
Cats are notorious for eating string and string-like things, so you might want to avoid using tinsel or string in your decor if your cat has this tendency. Don’t light wax candles for atmosphere if your cat will probably knock them off the shelf. Use battery-operated or electric candles instead, and be sure to keep wires for any electrically-operated decorations out of your pet’s reach.
Natural decorations, like pumpkins and corn, are considered non-toxic but can make your pet sick if it eats too much of them, or can cause a blockage if a big chunk is swallowed. You know best what kind of mischief your own pet is likely to get into, so use common sense and choose your Halloween decorations wisely.
Don’t let your dog or cat slip out the door!
During trick-or-treat, the outside door is opened and closed frequently, giving your pampered pet ample opportunity to bolt. A family pet running around loose outside on Halloween night could become lost or stolen, or harass the neighborhood trick-or-treaters. Dogs who are very well-socialized and not intimidated by strange people, sights and sounds may enjoy tagging along at trick-or-treat, but keep them leashed and be sure they’re wearing ID tags. Black cats may be especially vulnerable to troublemakers on Halloween, so keep them safely indoors!