Halloween can be fun for both kids and adults alike. Even pets can get in on the fun, some wearing costumes and enjoying special pet-safe treats. But, it’s important to remember that there can be risks to your pet on Halloween if proper precautions aren’t taken. According to PetMD, there are 10 easy tips for reducing stress to nervous pets on Halloween:
Remember that candies reserved for trick-or-treaters are NOT safe for pets. Both chocolate and an artificial sweetener called xylitol are toxic to pets. Plan ahead and keep candy well away from the sneaky, counter-surfing pets in your house.
Do not leave pets in the yard on Halloween. This is not just for the safety of trick-or-treaters. Cruelty-related incidents are typically on the rise each Halloween, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially if you have black cats in your house.
Keep pets away from the door. If you enjoy handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, that’s great. But the noise and strange costumes may over-excite or frighten your pet, who may become unusually aggressive or dash the door. Consider crating them or putting them in another room until the holiday activity has come to an end.
Keep glow sticks away from pets. While the neon material within is considered non-toxic, it can still cause vomiting and stomach upset.
Keep decorative pumpkins, corn and gourds out of reach. Cooked pumpkin and corn are considered safe for pets, but uncooked and potentially moldy Halloween pumpkins or corn displays can cause gastrointestinal upset. Some types of mold can even cause neurological problems.
Don’t keep lit pumpkins near pets. There is always the risk of a pet burning themselves or causing a fire. If you must have lit pumpkins in the house, consider using battery operated “candles” instead of the old-fashioned fire-starters. Just make sure the faux candles are out of reach of pets as well.
Speaking of batteries, keep electric and battery-powered décor out of reach. Before you plug in that festive string of pumpkin lights, consider whether the kitty in your house is prone to chewing on electrical cords.
Don’t force your pet to wear a costume. Some pets are great and easy breezy when it comes to Halloween costumes. Others… are not. You know if you have a pet that falls into the latter category. Which brings us to #9…
Make sure to try on costumes BEFORE Halloween night. Even easy going pets may need time to acclimate to something new. Try making it an extra positive experience by offering lots of praise and treats. Just remember that allowing your pet to go in his “birthday suit” is better than stressing him out. Also consider that a bandana may be a good compromise.
Finally, don’t forget your ID. Or, your pet’s ID actually. Should your pet escape the house or become lost, this will increase your chances of having him or her returned to you safe and sound. Make sure the ID is up-to-date and consider a microchip if you haven’t already.