Halloween is right around the corner. While it is a fun holiday, it can also be dangerous for your pets. Learn how to keep your pets safe this Halloween with this list of 12 Halloween Safety Tips For Pets
12 Halloween Safety Tips For Pets
1. Keep your pets indoors
In my opinion, this is the most important safety tip for your pets during Halloween, and if nothing else, please protect them from the pure evil that lurks in the hearts of humankind. Our pets look to us to keep them safe from harm.
On Halloween, take your pets out to play, for their daily walk and to do their business before trick or treaters start arriving.
Cats are at risk on Halloween, especially if they are black. Many cruel people in this world who believe torturing animals is a good time… Many of them have extended their cruelty to dogs. Keep your fuzzy kids indoors beginning the week before Halloween and a few days after. When your pet needs to go outside; make sure you go out with them. Some of the reports of animal cruelty that happened in my city last Halloween are enough to anger me beyond rationality. We won’t discuss my idea of a “fun time” to impose on people who harm animals for their personal entertainment…
Unfortunately, your pets are not even safe in their own backyards during this period. Some pets are taunted, stolen, or fed foods that poison them.
Sometimes even friendly trick or treaters run into your dog in his or her own backyard. Don’t assume that the trick or treater’s parents have taught their child not to approach a dog they don’t know as you have with your kids. (You have done that, right?) The kids see doggy, want to pet doggy, doggy wants nothing to do with any of it. Even friendly dogs can bite or snap when posed with a stranger in their territory, especially a stranger in a mask or strange costume. Prevent dog bites by keeping your pets indoors; save a child, save a pup… Thanks, from one responsible dog parent to another.
2. Keep candy out of their reach.
Keep the candy bucket up somewhere your pets cannot get to it. Candy can be deadly to your pets. Sure, they may enjoy a sugary treat as much as you do, and often young children think they are sharing something special with their best friend. This love for their best friend can kill them.
Theobromine, caffeine, and methylxanthines, stimulants derived from Xanthine are all in chocolate, even though they are natural in chocolate.
Xanthine derivatives can cause increased heart rate, constriction of the arteries, and overstimulation of the central nervous system, helping to make chocolate lethal to your pet.
Dark chocolate naturally contains the highest amount of Xanthine, making it the most deadly to your pet. The smallest amount can kill a dog.
A Sad but true story regarding a dog and chocolate:
When I was 12, my aunt had a beautiful and sweet Golden Retriever named Buffy. Buffy was one of the reasons I loved going to stay with my aunt during the summer. If you could ever say a dog was your best friend, at that time in my life, Buffy was that to me.
One day my cousin and I decided to bake my aunt some chocolate chip cookies. We found a 10 lb. bag of chocolate chips in the pantry and made a couple of batches. We rolled up the bag and replaced it into the pantry on its shelf.
What we failed to realize, we had forgotten to close the pantry door. After my cousin and I left the house to go to the movies, Buffy made her way into that forbidden space of a pantry. She ate almost one-quarter of the bag of chocolate chips, the only “treat” she could get into quickly. I am estimating there was a little over 9 lbs. of chocolate left in the bag.
When my cousin and I returned from the movies, we were dismayed to hear Buffy had passed away in that two and a half hours we were walking to and from the movies and enjoying our outing.
My aunt found Buffy on the floor of the pantry convulsing, the empty bag of chocolate chips next to her. She passed away in the car on the way to the vet. The world blew up in my mind; devastation ensued. With an attempt to do something sweet for my aunt, I killed my best friend…
Almost forty years later, Buffy’s death still haunts me. If a piece of chocolate drops on the floor or someone offers one of my dogs chocolate, I freak out like someone is dangling a child off a balcony at the Adlon Hotel four stories up. (Points if you actually get that reference.)
If you ever think just a little piece of chocolate will be ok for your dog, please learn from this story, and think again.
Xylitol, a natural, sugar-free sweetener that is found in many chewing gums, mints, foods, oral rinses, toothpaste, and OTC supplements is highly toxic to your dog. A small dose can cause severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10 minutes after consumption. Amounts that are more substantial can lead to liver necrosis and liver failure.
Besides chocolate and Xylitol, sugar, and raisins can cause stomach pain and issues to your dog. Raisins and grapes can also lead to kidney failure in dogs.
Symptoms to be aware of that indicate poisoning in your pet:
Vomiting and diarrhea
Vomiting or coughing up blood
Excessive thirst or urination
Absence or decreased urination
Black tarry stools
Muscle tremors and seizures
If you feel your pet has been poisoned, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435
Do you have a first aid kit for your pet? Learn how to make a first aid kit for your pet.
3. This includes candy wrappers
Wrappers are just as harmful to your pet as the treat they once contained. Wrappers are usually paper, plastic, cellophane, and tin foil. All of them can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach upset, and the worst case, choking and intestinal obstructions. I hope that you have taught your dog something like “leave it,” or “drop it” to prevent issues like this. You have right? Course you have, you are a responsible pet parent, or you wouldn’t be reading this post.
4. Keep them in a separate room during trick or treat hours
The constant ringing of a doorbell, the yell of “trick or treat,” strangers in weird clothes and even masks can make the friendliest of pets feel anxious. Put your pet into another room where they can feel safe and secure with the flood of trick or treaters arriving at the door. If you know that your pet will still become anxious even in his or her safe place, you can talk to your vet ahead of time about ways to help keep them calm.
If your pet is used to being around trick or treaters, keep a leash on him. Prevention is the best measure.
Another good reason to keep them in a separate room is to keep them from bolting out the door. A lot of cats love to be outside, and Halloween is not the night for unattended outdoor excursions. Dogs will often try to follow that sweet little girl in the angel costume as she is trick or treating the neighborhood. As learned from experience.
5. Keep decorations safely out of your pet’s reach
Pets inspect everything new you bring into your home. Make sure your decorations at our of their reach. If your dogs are chronic tail waggers like mine, candles are very dangerous to them and everyone else around them. Make sure any electrical cords are put where they can not get to them to chew on.
6. Make sure costumes are safe
Costumes for your pets follow the same rules as they do for your children. Make sure they are not too big or small; make sure there are no loose pieces that can cause a choking hazard.
If your pet gets agitated, please take the costume off, there is no need for your fuzzy to become stressed out so you can “aw” for a few minutes. Remember, a happy pet is a safe pet, and so is everyone around them.
If you have children, make sure your pet is not attracted to their costumes. If their costumes have pom-poms, jingle bells, dangly bits, glitter, make noise, or are shiny, chances are your pet, and especially your cat will want to get their paws on the toys your child is wearing. Items like these can be a choking hazard to your pet, so keep your eyes open.
Sometimes pets see loose and shiny items and are reminded of play time. Small children can be knocked over and even hurt by dogs that are more than happy to share play time with their human pal and their toy-laden costume.
7. Keep the glow sticks, bracelets, etc out of reach
While the glow liquid is nontoxic, it can cause mouth irritation, foaming at the mouth, and stomach irritation, so leave the fun glow items out of your pet’s reach.
8. Make sure your pet’s tags or microchips are up to date
This should be a common practice all year round. In the chance your pet manages to escape, having tags and chips that are up to date helps reunite families. Sometimes in my neighborhood, the human society patrols in the attempt to keep pets safe from thefts and harm, and often they will ask to check your pet if you are walking it during trick or treating. Some people look at it as an inconvenience, but personally, I look at it as a service, someone could have stolen your dog and no one would know if it weren’t for the Humane Society looking out for your pet’s best interest.
9. Watch for living decor consumption
While pumpkin is good for pets, especially dogs, over indulgence is not. The outer skin can lead to stomach upset. Hay, straw and dried corn stalks can also cause stomach issues, and in the worst cause, choking and intestinal obstructions.
10. If you are taking your pet out trick or treating, be aware of candy and wrappers on the ground they can pick up and eat.
I already mentioned candy and their wrappers in points 2 and 3, but this tip is still essential. Most people forget to watch what their dogs are doing while out trick or treating. They forget that children often drop candy and most people litter. I cannot tell you how many times I have been out trick or treating with my kids and have to tell a dog walker that their pet has a wrapper or a chocolate bar in their mouth. While you are out trick or treating with your pet, keep this tip in mind.
11. If you are taking your pet out trick or treating, make sure cars can see you and your pet with a reflective source.
Use reflective leashes and collars on your pet when taking them out trick or treating. You can also get creative with reflective tape as one of my neighbors has.
Every Halloween, she takes her grandchildren out trick or treating. Each year she brings her cat with her, carried in a comfortable trick or treat basket that most years is a pumpkin. She adorns the edges of the top opening with reflective tape as well as the eyes, nose, and mouth of the pumpkin. Not only is her kitty seen in the dark by cars, but the pumpkin also looks cool with its reflective eyes, nose, and mouth. You can’t miss her cat in this bucket along with its reflective collar, but the cool effect of a “bodiless” face with glowing eyes, nose, and mouth coming toward you is pretty epic, and a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment.
Yes, I can hear some of you asking, her grand kids reflect in the dark too.
12. Take another adult with you if you are taking your dog trick or treating, one to watch the kids, the other to watch the dog.
Not only do dogs graze on things they find on walks, sometimes their demeanors can change quickly. Someone has to look out for your dog’s best interest, especially if you are distracted with watching your kids.
Other people’s kids may approach your dog and offer it treats that they shouldn’t have, scare your dog because of a mask or custom, or tease your dog prompting a bite. Safety first, always.
If you are taking your dog out trick or treating, remember to bring poop bags. No one likes your dog’s mess left on their lawn or the sidewalk in front of their house. Be a good neighbor and clean up after your pup.
What other Halloween safety tips for pets do you have? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.