It’s easy to overlook the dangers that pets face each year as we enjoy the spooky festivities of the season but surprisingly, these dangers do exist. With a little forethought, however pet parents can enjoy Halloween while keeping their four legged children safe.
Those treat bowls that are left by the door for wandering spooks can pose a great hazard for dogs and cats. These little candies are often brightly wrapped and come in the perfect size for kitty to grab up and push across the floor. Playing with wrapped candy may seem harmless, but cats often carry their playthings in their mouths, like prey and ingesting even the smallest amounts of sugar and chocolate can pose a health risk for our feline friends. Ingesting chocolate, in any form, can pose fatal for dogs as well and for this reason, treat bags and bowls need to be kept out of Fido’s reach.
Our pets are nosey creatures and can become excited with the constant arrival of new and interesting costumed strangers at the door making pet escapes a common problem on Halloween. It’s best to keep pets locked in another room during the trick-or-treating hours in order to prevent them from bolting out the door. Pets should always be collared and tagged, but this is especially important on days when runaways are more likely.
Pets that spend time outdoors should be brought inside on Halloween. Even the most behaved yard walkers can be frightened through an invisible fence on a night when so many strangers invade their territory. Foot, bicycle, and car traffic tends to be higher on Halloween and the likelihood of injury increases for lose and stray animals during times of high traffic.
Carved pumpkins are festive and fun and though non-toxic can cause stomach upset in pets that nibble them. They may also suffer from burns from hot wax or flames if the pumpkins are illuminated by candles. Other Halloween decorations, particularly those that require electricity can pose a threat to inquisitive animals. All wires need to be secure to insure that pets don’t chew on them.
Finally, many of us enjoy dressing our pets in costumes for Halloween. The ASPCA encourages pet owners to check costumes for potential issues ahead of time. The costume should fit properly without restricting movement or hearing. There should be no lose, hanging pieces that could cause tripping if stepped on. Costumes that cover the neck and throat may also pose a risk if they become twister or tangled around objects.