It’s the spookiest time of the year! This Halloween, as you’re scoping out costumes, arranging decorations artfully, and gearing up for trick-or-treaters, make sure to keep your pet’s safety in mind. We’ve got five important Halloween safety tips to help you with the dos and don’ts of the holiday season.
1. Your Pet’s Who, What, and Where
Holiday season or not, it’s always a good idea to make sure your pet is well identified: ID tags should be up-to-date with your current contact information, and microchips are also an option that will help make it easy for good Samaritans to bring back your cat or dog if they wander off through an open door.
2. Save the Treats for You (and Your Kids)
Nothing says Halloween like gorging on candy, whether it’s your own supply for trick-or-treaters or a big haul brought back to the house by your kids. As you pick through for the tastiest treats, make sure to keep all of the sweet bounty inaccessible to your cat and dog. If they are tempted by the candy, they won’t be able to remove wrappers, which can lead to digestion troubles, and may also be a choking hazard.
And the candy itself is toxic: chocolate, the ingredient theobromine can lead to tummy distress at best in dogs, with vomit and diarrhea as the main symptoms, or it can even lead to death, if a pet eats too much.
Sugar-free treats are no better. The sweetener substitute xylitol can lead to severe sickness; if you know that your dog has ingested xylitol, call the vet immediately.
Chocolate is problematic for cats as well, but they do not tend to be tempted. It’s unknown if xylitol is toxic for cats, but in general, seek to keep sweets away from cats as well as dogs to be on the safe side.
3. Keep an Eye on the Door
As you marvel at trick-or-treaters, make sure that you keep your pets in a closed room, in their crate, or held by the leash or in your arms. This way, you can avoid your cat or dog running through the open door, and can also make sure they don’t scratch or bite your visitors.
Some pets experience anxiety when the doorbell rings frequently, or even when there are a lot more guests than usual. If that’s the case for your cat or dog, consider leaving a note so that people will knock instead of ringing the bell, or keeping your pets in a comfortable place far from the sound of people and the doorbell.
4. Pet Costumes
Definitely do dress up your pets if they’re amenable -- that way, they can celebrate the season in style! Check costumes for loose strings and bows that could be chewable temptations, and scratchy sections that may cause discomfort. A fairly simple costume is best for pets.
5. Pet-Safe Decorations
And of course, follow simple safety precautions when it comes to decorations. If you’re keeping candles in a jack-o-lantern, make sure there’s no possibility of the candle being within the range of a paw. Your cat or dog could easily burn themselves, or tip over the pumpkin and start a fire.
Avoid tinsel anywhere your cat can come into contact with it, since it can be a choking hazard. Fake spider webs could cause a similar problem, and should also be avoided in areas where your cat will roam.
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