This Halloween, here are 5 suggestions to keep your pets safe.
In a family feature Halloween is a highly anticipated celebration for both children and adults thanks to costumes and candy, but pets may find the occasion especially terrifying. On All Hallows Eve, some of the same things that make us happy can also create anxiety, stress, or poisoning, which can make our four-legged family members flee or act angrily.
Take heed of these safety recommendations to help ensure that Halloween is enjoyable for everyone in the family.
from the professionals at VCA Animal Hospitals, a network of more than 1,000 facilities serving more than 4.5 million dogs in North America in 2016. If you need help managing your pet's anxiety, talk to your veterinarian.
Make your pet's home a safe place. It might be wise to leave your pet at home if your area is especially busy on Halloween and the sidewalks are crowded with excited trick-or-treaters. Extra people on the street or at the door in frightful costumes might startle pets, which could cause unusual reactions like growling or biting if they feel threatened. Consider keeping your pets inside while you sit alone by the door to greet trick-or-treaters when they knock or ring the doorbell, even if they are friendly and like meeting new people. If so, think about placing your pet in a room away from the commotion with a TV, radio, or white noise generator to drown out the noise.
When taking your pet trick-or-treating, use caution. If you do decide to take your pet out, make sure they are always leashed securely and kept near to you (avoid retractable leashes). Be aware of your surroundings and how others are approaching you and your pet, especially if they are pleasant or excited youngsters, as physical touch from strangers in costumes could elicit an angry or terrified response.
Do not wear the outfit, if possible. It's best to avoid dressing up your pets for Halloween, but if you do, it's crucial that they wear secure, cozy costumes. They must be loose enough to allow for freedom of movement without being a trip hazard. On the other hand, tight costumes can limit breathing and make mobility challenging. Ensure that your pet's outfit won't obstruct their vision or hearing. Also, watch out for tiny components that could be chewed off and ingested, such as buttons or loose strings.
Do not provide treats to pets. Avoid tempting your pet to share Halloween goodies with you. Keep all candy securely out of reach, in fact. Dogs should not consume xylitol-sweetened chocolate, candies, or gum. Additionally, swallowing foil or cellophane wrappers can result in health issues. Even healthy indulgences like caramel apples should be avoided because eating things that aren't usually on the menu might result in GI obstructions, pancreatitis, and unhappy stomachs.
Consider safety when decorating. While they add to the festive atmosphere, decorations pose health hazards for your pet. Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds are non-toxic, however excessive consumption can cause stomach distress. If a curious dog knocks over a Jack-O-Lantern with lit candles, it could result in a fire hazard. Your porch can be brightened with decorative lights, but you should keep them out of your pet's reach because chewing on electrical lines can result in electrocution.
Visit vcahospitals.com to find out more information and to look for further advice on how to make Halloween safe and enjoyable for your animal companions.