Halloween is quickly approaching. It may look slightly different this year due to the pandemic, although some counties, like Los Angeles, have continued to adjust Halloween guidelines as things change in our county.
Even if you aren’t expecting large groups of children, you may still be thinking of ways to be festive in order to make things feel a little more normal.
Whatever your Halloween plans, whether it’s a family garage party, a socially distanced costume walk, a cuddly night on the couch with a horror movie on, or fun outdoor decorations, you want to make sure your pet is safe. All the noise and ruckus of Halloween is fun for most of us, but it can be overwhelming for some pets. Other pets may enjoy the decorations and the treats in ways we don’t want them to.
We know your pet’s safety is a priority for you, and since October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month, there’s no better time to discuss ways to keep your pets safe during the Halloween festivities.
Watch Those Treats
Candy and treats are as much a part of Halloween as pumpkins and ghosts. With so many treats around, it’s easy for your dog or cat to get a hold of them if they aren’t stored properly.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to Halloween goodies:
It’s not always practical or convenient to keep things up high. If you like to keep a candy bowl handy, find something with a lid to keep curious noses and paws out.
Since accidents can happen, and cats like to knock things down, keep anything containing chocolate or xylitol stored in a cabinet, completely out of the reach of pets. Both of these ingredients have the potential to be extremely toxic. Xylitol is found in sugar-free candy, some types of gum, and some peanut-butters.
If you have children, stress to them the importance of not giving candy to the pets. Keep a jar of healthy pet treats handy for them to give out instead since small children often like to share. You can even find recipes for pet treats made with pumpkin! You can make these with your kids to help them feel more involved and invested in the safety of your pet.
Decorations and Pet Safety
Decorations can be another hidden danger to your pet. Your pet may also be a danger to the decorations if you have a cat that likes to play with things that dangle or a dog that likes to chew on anything new.
Beware of power cords and find a way to cover them if you have an animal that chews. Better yet, find battery-powered decor.
If you have Jack-o-Lanterns, consider battery-powered candles versus traditional candles. This poses less of a fire risk if you have an exuberant dog or curious cat that may knock them over.
If you have a high-stress pet, think twice about fog machines or anything that makes loud or unusual noise. These noises can create a stressful environment for an animal with anxiety.
Use glow-sticks with care. If your pet chews on one and ingests the fluid, it can cause excessive drooling and occasionally, vomiting. The fluid is non-toxic to pets but is still a very unpleasant experience.
If harvest style decoration is your aesthetic, be careful with your corn cobs. If chewed on, these can cause an intestinal blockage. Whole pumpkins can also cause blockages because of the hard rind. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate with them; just be extra aware of placement if you know your dog will be tempted to chew them.
Be careful when using decorations with parts that dangle if you have a cat. If you do use decorations like this, make sure any that are accessible to your cat are lightweight in the event your cat is able to knock them down.
Pet Costume Safety
Dressing up your pet can be fun, even if they don’t always agree with you. If you like your pet to look festive on Halloween, keep a few things in mind when selecting a costume for them to keep them as safe as they are cute.
Do not block their vision or mouths or restrict their movement. They will be happier, and more willing to wear the costume, if they can move freely.
Keep their heads free.
If they seem uncomfortable with some part of the costume, take it off.
Watch for dangly portions that could get stuck on things.
Do not weigh them down in a heavy costume.
Watch for any costume parts that may present a choking hazard.
Keep their ID tags on them.
Do not leave them unattended while in a costume.
If they seem overly stressed, don’t make them wear it.
Trick Or Treating Safety
If you've decided to trick or treat this year, keep in mind that all the noise and people can cause even a calm dog to be a little stressed. To prevent your dog from running away or becoming overwhelmed, take some precautions for their safety.
Consider giving them calming dog treats prior to the trick or treating festivities.
If you have a dog that is easily stressed by strangers at the door, crate them if they are crate trained. Give them an interactive treat to keep them occupied; keeping busy will help keep them calm.
If you know they’ll try to make a run for it, put them in a separate room to keep them calm and away from the door.
Make sure they have an ID on incase they decide to run out the door.
If they are good with people and you have them dressed up to greet trick or treaters, keep them by your side on a leash, and make sure they stay close to you.
Just because Halloween will look a little different this year, doesn’t mean we can’t make the most of it. There are dozens of ways you and your pet can have a safe and happy Halloween, and those of us at PetProGo are looking forward to some fun, pet inclusive activities.
Let us know in the comments! We'd love to know... if you’re staying home with your pets, what new Halloween traditions are you starting with your pets this year?