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  • Writer's pictureLeighAnnGerk

Halloween can be a spooky time for your cat or dog

Many families look forward to celebrating Halloween all year long. The decorations are out, the carved pumpkins are lit, the children are dressed up in their costumes and the gigantic bowl of candy is waiting at the front door for trick or treaters. But this popular holiday can also be dangerous, stressful and downright scary for your dear pet.

Let’s take a moment to look at Halloween from your pet’s perspective. Your home is their home. It is their safe place. They are already adjusting to new routines due to the cool fall weather and then all of a sudden October 31st arrives, and their home doesn’t feel quite right. Their family is wearing funny clothes that not only make them look and smell different, but make crinkly, odd sounds when they move. Their trusted family, who they are very comfortable with, are suddenly frightening to them. Then, to top it off, they too are put into a costume that is often uncomfortable, itchy, alters their mobility and obstructs their vision. Add to that, the numerous times the doorbell rings and their family greets a parade of strangers at the door who, too, do not look like a typical human being. Now, their safe place doesn’t feel so safe. They don’t know if they should run and hide or be protecting their domain. Of course, the above scenario does not apply to all pets, but it is certainly something to be aware of.

Listed below are ways to keep your furry family members safe:

  • Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark and baking chocolate- can be very dangerous to cats and dogs. Xylitol (a sugar substitute used in many foods especially sugar free candy and gum) is also very unsafe for your pet.

  • Keep a watchful eye on your children - they may not understand sharing their Halloween candy with the family pet can be deadly.

  • Be prepared - know ahead of time who to call in case of an emergency and the location of your nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.

  • Data reported from the poison hotline show calls increase by 12% the week of Halloween making this one of the busiest times of the year for them. Keep the 24-hour ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center hotline) readily available. Their number is 888-426-4435 (they may charge a consultation fee.)

  • Although pumpkin can be good for dogs and cats, too much can cause digestive issues.

  • If you choose to put a costume on your pet, please make sure it is comfortable for them, does not alter their breathing or vision and does not have strings or buttons attached that they could possibly chew off and choke on. But, most importantly, if your pet hates wearing a costume don’t put one on.

Be aware of decorations that can be a threat to your pet:

  • Keep your lit candles and Jack-O-Lanterns in a safe spot where they cannot be knocked over

  • Be aware of potential choking hazards such fake cobwebs, rubber eyeballs, lollipop sticks, candy wrappers and plastic packaging

  • Be watchful of potentially poisonous items such as glow sticks or fake blood

  • Bring your pet indoors before nightfall

  • Unless your dog or cat is super social, put them in a safe room with the door closed so they don’t have the opportunity to dash out of your front door when you are greeting trick or treaters

  • Always make sure your pet is wearing proper identification just in case he or she does escape your home

Wishing you and your precious pets a safe Halloween!

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