Halloween can be a fun and exciting time for everyone, especially families with children but please spare a moment to think about your pets and the potential hazards at this time of year.
Strangers wearing scary costumes
This can be very stressful for some pets and both cats and dogs may become worked up by the constant knocking on the front door. Some dogs may also become unexpectedly fearful or show aggression when faced with these very odd looking people.
Make sure that your pets have a safe and quiet place to retreat to when the trick or treating starts. If you are going to dress up your dog and have him great the visitors make sure you monitor him or her for signs of distress.
Walk your dog earlier in the evening so he or she is not faced with groups of scary and over excited children while out and about.
Make sure your pet is microchipped and/or has an ID tag on in case they get scared and run off.
We all know that sweets are not good for our pets but it is worth remembering that chocolate is especially toxic to dogs even in small quantities (depending on the type of chocolate) and can cause symptoms ranging from mild excitement and tremors to vomiting, diarrhoea and collapse.
Sweets, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to our pets and can cause rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species such as ferrets.
Lollipop sticks can also cause dangerous obstructions and may even perforate the bowel if they are swallowed whole
Pumpkins, Candles and Lanterns
These can be a fire risk if they are knocked over by a wagging tail or a scared cat running past, so be wary of where they are placed around the home.
Wax from candles can also cause very nasty burns if it gets spilled on a pet’s coat.
Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are are not toxic to pets but may cause a stomach upset in pets if they are ingested, especially if the corn has been coloured or treated.
Dressing up your pets
Halloween costumes can look great on our pets and there are certainly lots of costumes available to buy at this time of year, but before you dress up your pet you should consider the following:
- A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.
- Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and possibly pain or infection.
- Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and eat it, which may cause an internal obstruction.
- If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.
- Try the costume on your pet before the big event to make sure he or she is comfortable in it (you can use treats as positive reinforcers)