Halloween, the spookiest night of the year is right around the corner, and it can be frightful for pets. But with a little forethought it can turn out to be a fun, safe and happy Halloween for everyone, including your pet.
During the week of Halloween calls to the Pet Poison Helpline increase 12 percent, making it the center’s busiest time of year. Most of these calls involve pets accidentally eating candy or decor. The four most common food-related Halloween hazards for pets are chocolate, candy overindulgence, raisins and candy wrappers. So by all means find a safe place to stow Halloween candy and treats where your pet can’t reach them.
For pet owners who have children it is important to talk to them about keeping candy away from pets so they don’t become ill. When youngsters get home from trick or treating and are sorting through their sugary loot, make sure pets are in another room safe from temptation.
Afterwards, depending on your child’s age, it may be best to supervise any candy eating or don’t let them have access to treats if you can’t watch them because children would love to share their hard-earned goodies with their favorite pet.
If you like to decorate your home be careful of what and where you are putting things on display to avoid possible choking or poisoning hazards for inquisitive pets. Easy-to-reach decorations can be eaten or knocked over. A pumpkin with a candle in it could burn a curious cat or be knocked over by a clumsy dog and cause a fire. If you string up lights, make sure your pets can’t get tangled or chew on them and get a shock.
Costumes are fun but they make people look and smell different, so as a precautionary measure let pets see and sniff costumes before putting them on to help reduce their anxiety.
Gauge your pet’s reaction to the continuous doorbell and knocking when greeting trick-or-treaters. Some dogs and cats can become skittish and anxiety ridden and it may be best to keep them in a quiet room away from the action.
Be sure to have ID on your pets in case they escape by accident with all of the frequent door opening for trick-or-treaters. This is your best bet to getting them back home safely and quickly.
If you are going to dress your pet in a costume for Halloween be sure to try the costume on a few days prior and get them used to it. The costume should not restrict your pet’s movement or cover their eyes or ears. Make sure it is not too tight to restrict their breathing and that there are no choking or tripping hazards. If your pet doesn’t like to wear clothing, maybe just have them wear a themed bandanna instead.
Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].