As Halloween approaches, people all over the country are decorating and preparing for this spooky holiday. While humans have a great time celebrating Halloween, for some pet owners, the fun can quickly turn to tragedy. Halloween pet safety is an often-overlooked aspect of the holiday season, and AVES has a few Halloween pet safety tips for all of pet owners who celebrate Halloween.
Halloween Food Safety Tips
One of the main components to the celebration of Halloween is candy for trick-or-treaters. If you are handing out candy, you need to make sure that you keep it out of reach of your pets. Additionally, if you are taking your pet trick-or-treating, never let anyone give them candy. While candy is safe (although not healthy) for humans, many types contain things that are very dangerous for pets. Chocolate is one of the most well-known toxins for pets. Cats and dogs should never be given chocolate in any form, but dark chocolate is the most dangerous. Some sugar-free candies are also problematic for pets as they contain xylitol, a common sugar substitute, that is extremely toxic to pets.
Halloween Decoration Safety Tips
Many people put up decorations for Halloween. With so many different kinds of decorations, there are a lot of hazards to look out for. Some of the most common decorations of the season are jack-o-lanterns. If you are using real candles in your jack-o-lanterns, make sure that you keep your pets away from them. With just one bump, your jack-o-lantern could be knocked over, which could start a fire. Additionally, pets are very curious creatures. With pets, jack-o-lantern dangers also include burns.
If you are a fan of gourds, decorative corn, or pumpkins, you might want to try to keep your pet away from them as well. While these items aren’t considered toxic or poisonous, they can cause gastrointestinal upset. Watch out for signs of stomach problems and call your veterinarian if they seem to persist.
Halloween is one of just two times a year that poison control centers report having a high number of calls about something many of us don’t think much about: glow sticks. If you hand out or give your children glow sticks for trick-or-treating, make sure that you keep your pets away from them.
The liquid inside of glow sticks contains numerous different chemicals. These chemicals can be toxic in large quantities, but one glow stick isn’t enough to cause concern. Fortunately, the liquid in glow sticks is very bitter so that most pets won’t ingest more than just a little bit, but it is still irritating. Your pet may vomit if they ingest the substance, however. If the liquid gets on your pet’s skin, it may cause skin irritation. Plus, your pet might try to lick the substance off of their skin and fur. Make sure to clean all glow stick liquid from the skin and fur to prevent more problems.
Another danger with glow sticks is the glass inside. Every glow stick contains a small glass vial that, when snapped, activates the glow stick. If your pet bites into a glow stick, they may consume small fragments of glass. In most cases, you won’t notice any problems from the glass, but if your pet’s vomit or stool contains blood, you need to contact a veterinarian.
Halloween Costume Safety Tips
Many pets aren’t fond of wearing Halloween costumes. To help acclimate your pet to their costume, try dressing them up a few days before the celebration (when there aren’t a bunch of people coming to your door) to see if they appear stressed. If your pet is overly stressed, it might be best to take the costume off and let them go au naturel on Halloween. Let your pet show off their holiday spirit with a festive bandana or collar instead.
When your pet is in a costume, make sure that the fit doesn’t prevent your pet from moving around normally. Avoid any costumes that impede vision or make it difficult for your pet to breathe, bark, or meow. An oversized outfit can also cause problems. For example, the fabric could get caught on an external object, leading to injuries for your dog or cat.
Never put your pet in a costume with small components that can easily be chewed off. These pieces could be a choking hazard for pets. When pets choke on small objects, it could quickly turn into an emergency situation requiring help from a veterinarian.
Keeping Your Dog from Running Away
During the festivities, your dog or cat may become anxious or nervous; these emotions can cause pets to get so afraid that they run away. With all of the doorbell ringing and doors opening and closing, without careful watch, your pet has many opportunities to run out the open door. Additionally, the costumes of the trick or treaters can be scary for your pet. It might be a good idea to keep your pet secure in a separate room during trick-or-treating hours.
Before the Halloween festivities begin, make sure all the information on your pet’s tag is up-to-date. Additionally, take this as an opportunity to get your pet microchipped if they are not already microchipped. When microchipping your pet, always make sure your information is registered and up to date. Pets that have been microchipped and registered are more likely to be returned to their owners, so it is worth the small cost associated with the service. Check with your family veterinarian if you have any questions about the microchipping process.
Our Halloween safety tips are designed to help you prevent accidents this Halloween. However, if you believe your pet is in need of emergency care, give us a call today at 512-343-2837. Our emergency clinic is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to allow us to provide care for pets in need.