Some pets love the hustle and bustle of Halloween, while others will find this Spooky Season hauntingly stressful. Keeping your furry friends safe doesn’t have to be tricky – here are a few things to consider ahead of the spookiest night of the year.
Trick-or-treaters at the door
It is advisable to keep cats and dogs inside where possible during Halloween night – or even better, in a separate room during peak trick or treat hours. Unattended animals – especially black cats – are easy prey for Halloween tricksters and cruel pranksters
Even in the safe confines of your home, sudden loud noises can make pets unhappy. Continuously opening and closing the door, combined with several strangers on your doorstep dressed in unusual costumes can be scary and stressful for our beloved pets, which could lead to sudden aggression or escape attempts. Putting your dog or cat in a safe place away from the front door will help to minimise anxiety and prevent them from darting outside into the night. Perhaps up safe and high with a comfortable bed, or a cosy den or open dog crate covered with blankets. If for any reason he or she does escape, proper identification, such as a collar tag or microchip, can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.
It’s common these days for trick-or-treaters to look for a lit pumpkin or decorations as an invitation to knock but if you’re concerned that your pet will be too frightened with people constantly at the door, it might be worth putting up a polite sign asking them to skip your house.
Spooky treats left unattended
Halloween treats can be highly toxic to our pets, so make sure to keep all trick-or-treating edibles safely out of paws reach.
Most owners are aware that chocolate in all forms is highly poisonous to dogs and cats, and in some cases can be fatal. However, many pet parents are unaware of the dangers lurking in certain sweets, particularly chewing gum, which can contain pet-poisonous substances such as xylitol, which can also be fatal to our pets. Packaging too can be extremely harmful when swallowed by animals, causing choking or blockage of the intestine. To prevent your pets from finding your treats, ensure they are stored out of reach and empty wrappers are not left anywhere which is accessible to your pet – be certain to warn children and guests not to share the goodies with your pets.
Keep an eye out the day after Halloween for any leftover treats littering the ground when you walk your dog. If you suspect your pet has consumed something poisonous, contact your local vets immediately.
We all know dogs like to chew anything they can – so it is important to decorate with your pet in mind! Halloween decorations can be a choking hazard for your pet, so it is important to place them out of reach and make sure they’re hung securely, to avoid any issues.
While a creatively carved pumpkin is certainly festive, pets should never be left alone in a room with lit candles or pumpkins, as these can easily be knocked over and start a fire. Please remember to take precautions to prevent your animal companions from sticking their noses or paws into burning candles, tea lights, or lit pumpkins, as curious kittens and puppies are especially at risk of getting burned
Be careful with costumes
As much as many pet owners enjoy dressing up their furry friends in spooky costumes for Halloween, for some animals, wearing a costume may cause unnecessary stress. If you do choose to dress up your pet, be certain that the costume is comfortable, not constricting, or dangerous – ensure it does not restrict his or her movement, vision, or ability to breathe, bark or meow.
Double check the outfit thoroughly for elastic bands, or small, hanging or easily chewed-off parts that could become a choking hazard. Ill-fitting costumes risk being snagged on external objects or twisted by your pet, leading to injury and stress. Ensure to try the outfit on your pet before Halloween night, and if they seem distressed or uncomfortable, abandon the idea, and take it off.
You can still have a fun Halloween night in with your pets, without dressing up. Maybe cuddle-up and dust down that spooky DVD you keep meaning to watch!