The scariest night of the year is almost here…are you prepared for the panic? We know you won’t be afraid of the little goblins and ghouls who knock on your door looking for treats. But what about your pets? Whether they’re the type that loves all the activity or the kind to cower in the corner and cry at the constant stream of strangers with candy, now’s the time to get ready for whatever comes a ‘knocking.
Halloween Safety Tip #1: Pet costumes are cool, but don’t forget dress rehearsal! We all love to see our pets wearing cute costumes, but make sure your pet is enjoying it just as much as you are. If you plan to dress your cat or dog up for Halloween, get the costume a week or two prior to the festivities and try it out for a few days so they can get used to it. You don’t want your pet to be uncomfortable or unhappy during all the fun. Ensure that the costume has no choking hazards or dangling accessories and allows your pet to breath, eat, and move with ease. As soon as you notice any aggravation, irritation or discomfort, remove the costume.
Halloween Safety Tip #2: No go on the glow. Glow sticks are great for trick-or-treaters to stay safe as they haunt the neighborhood but keep them away from dogs and cats who could chew them up and get sick. Even though the glowing goo inside of glow sticks is non-toxic, it can still be messy, cause vomiting, or even be a choking hazard for pets. Because they are attractive and toy-like, dogs and cats both may be drawn to them, so be sure to put them away when the kids are done with them.
Halloween Safety Tip #3: Keep sugary treats out of reach. Stock up on healthy pet treats so you have something appropriate to offer your pet when the begging begins. All candy is bad for pets, and some can be downright dangerous. Chocolate, specifically, is poisonous for pets, as is candy and gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol for dogs. The toxicity of xylitol to cats isn’t yet certain, but it’s a good idea to keep it off-limits for safety’s sake. High levels of sugar and fats in general are not healthy for pets, so the best practice is to never give your pets candy, desserts, or other “junk” food.
Halloween Safety Tip #4: When it comes to Halloween decorations, hang ‘em high! Decorating for Halloween is almost as fun as dressing up, but these decorations can be tempting for pets. Cats love to claw at fake spider webs and dogs love to chew up grinning Jack O’ Lanterns. Of course, these can be choking hazards, and carved pumpkins containing lit candles can be fire hazards. Even decorative food items can be dangerous, i.e. dried ears of corn, gourds, etc. These may not be directly poisonous, but many carry molds or could cause bowel obstruction if swallowed. Battery operated or electrical decorations like lights and animatronics can also be dangerous to pets. Remember…safety first, scary second.
Halloween Safety Tip #5: Feed and walk your pet before the festivities begin. With so much to plan and do during chaotic holidays, it’s always best to make sure your pet’s daily needs are met ahead of time. Make sure they’ve had a good meal, plenty of water, and lots of exercise prior to parties or activities. If their basic needs have been met and they’re already tuckered-out, they’re more likely to be relaxed and able to deal with all the commotion.
Halloween Safety Tip #6: Don’t leave pets outside or in the car on Halloween night. With so much activity and hijinks in the neighborhood, it is best to keep dogs and cats safely inside your home. Even pets who are good with children can get overwhelmed and nervous with too much commotion and all the unusual and sometimes frightening costumes. If you’re taking the kids out trick-or-treating, you might be tempted to bring your dog along for the ride. This is highly discouraged. Should you have to get out of the car, it isn’t safe to leave your pet in the car alone.
Halloween Safety Tip #7: Make your pet identifiable. Even if you’re not dressing your pet up as someone or something else, it’s important that your pet has ID tags or a Microchip in case he or she gets loose.
Halloween Safety Tip #8: Keep it clean. If you’re having a party or the kids come home with lots of candy, make sure no candy wrappers or plastic bags are left lying around. Pets will be drawn to the deliciously sweet smell and could eat the wrappers or get their little heads stuck in candy bags.
Halloween Safety Tip #9: Make a safe space for your pet. Fear, anxiety, stress, and strangers can make even the coolest cat (or dog) uneasy. If you’re having a party or entertaining trick-or-treaters, the best idea is to keep your pet safe and comfortable in another room. They can be easily frightened by all the trick-or-treaters coming to the door and could become aggressive. It’s nice to offer a new toy, treat, or something else that will keep them occupied and happy while all the excitement of the night transpires elsewhere. If you are going to take your dog along to a Halloween party or trick-or-treating, be sure to bring a leash or pet stroller.
Halloween Safety Tip #10: Keep calm and party on. Sometimes pets can benefit from anti-anxiety remedies to help them destress during times of increased activity, noise, or a change in the environment. Giving your pet a natural anti-anxiety chew like pawTree’s Chillax is a great way to relieve stress and help pets stay calm during noisy parties and unusual situations that might cause them to bark, whine, or feel uneasy. Chillax contains veterinarian-recommended calming ingredients like hemp seed oil & powder, chamomile, Valerian, L-tryptophan, and other gentle ingredients, and is safe for dogs and cats.
With a little forethought and preparation, you can help ensure that Halloween is a little less scary for your pet and a whole lot safer for the entire family.