Keeping Your Pets (and Black Cats!) Safe This Halloween Holiday
Halloween is a beloved holiday because it not only kicks off the end-of-year holiday season, but it is also the one time of year when kids and adults get to dress up and just enjoy themselves. For many families with pets, their four-footed family members also get to be included in the festivities.
But, there are several hidden risks that all pet owners need to keep in mind when celebrating Halloween with their animal companions. This pet guide for Halloween will help you enjoy a safer and healthier holiday with your family and pets this year.
Costumes for Pets – Yes or No?
Halloween costumes for pets has become a huge seasonal industry, just as it has for the candy manufactures. Because after all, who doesn’t love seeing their little schnauzer dressed up like a princess? But, not all pets like being dressed up. If your pet becomes anxious or agitated when wearing a costume, then you shouldn’t try to force her to wear it. Only pets that are comfortable wearing costumes should be dressed in them.
If your pet loves playing dress-up, then you will want to make sure the costume doesn’t restrict your pet’s ability to move or breathe, and that it doesn’t have any small objects or dangling fabric that your pet could chew or choke on and/or ingest.
The Dangers of Halloween Candy for Pets
One of the biggest dangers for pets on Halloween comes with the potential for ingesting candy. Children often pour the hefty rewards of the night’s activities all over the floor or table, and if the household pet isn’t being carefully watched, she might try to take off with one or more pieces of candy for herself.
But, a lot of the most popular types of Halloween candy, especially those featuring chocolate and the sugar-substitute xylitol, can be toxic to animals.
If you believe your pet ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
If you decorate your home for Halloween, then you need to make sure your decorations are pet-proofed. You don’t want your cat or dog chewing on a plastic or glass decoration, for example, or a serious injury could occur.
You also want to keep your pet well away from any electrical wires or light cords inside or outside of your home because if she chews on the wires, she could suffer a life-threatening shock.
Jack ’O Lantern Safety
Carving pumpkins is a favorite holiday activity and the lighting of the Jack ‘O Lanterns is a tradition in most households. But if you have a pet, you don’t want to use a candle as your pumpkin’s light source.
A pet can easily knock over a Jack ‘O Lantern or get a little too close to one, and both of these situations can pose a fire risk. Instead, use battery-operated candles and you’ll not only enjoy the same result, but you’ll also be keeping your pet (and your home!) safer.
Keep Cats and Dogs Indoors
It is a shame, but the Halloween season doesn’t always bring out the best in everyone. There are some people out there who think nothing of stealing a pet from someone else’s backyard so they can torture or even kill it during this time of year. This is especially a risk for black cats. So, be sure to keep your pets indoors for several days before and after Halloween to keep them safe.
In addition, keep your pets away from the front door or confine them to a room during trick-or-treating hours. You don’t want your cat or dog racing out of the front door as you open it to hand out candy. This puts your pet and your trick-or-treaters at risk.
For Halloween, Make Sure You Have an Updated ID Tag on Your Pet
If you recently moved and have yet to update your pet’s ID tag or microchip information, then now is the time to do it. A lot of pets get out and wind up at rescue shelters during the holiday season, so having this information available and updated will help ensure your family pet makes her way back home as quickly as possible.
Author: Giano Panzarella