When the autumn leaves begin to fall, and a chill is in the air, Halloween is on its way, and pet owners must prepare for the day. Humans don costumes and decorate with delight, but all the festivities can cause pets quite a fright. Candy, costumes, and strangers at the door, pose a pet safety hazard you shouldn’t ignore. Our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team cares about your pet and shares four pet safety tips for the best Halloween yet.
#1: Keep chocolates on a shelf as this sweet treat can harm pets’ health
If you dig through your child’s trick-or-treating bag for chocolate, you are not alone. The allure of a Snickers bar, the promise of a Milky Way, or the classic charm of an M&M’s pack can prove irresistible, not only for you but also for your pet. While you can savor chocolate’s rich and creamy flavor, a small piece can be toxic to your four-legged friend. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, two of which—caffeine and theobromine—are responsible for chocolate toxicity in pets:
- Caffeine — Caffeine can cause the same health issues in pets as in people who ingest too much. If your pet gets their paws on some chocolate, their heart may begin to race, and they may develop an arrhythmia. Caffeine can also raise blood pressure, cause hyperactivity, and lead to tremors and seizures.
- Theobromine — Physicians prescribe theobromine to people as a heart stimulant, diuretic, blood vessel dilator, and muscle relaxant. However, pets are unable to metabolize theobromine, making this substance toxic to them.
The more bitter a chocolate tastes, the more toxic. However, if your pet consumes enough, any chocolate type can be harmful. So, as you scour through the spoils of your child’s hard-earned loot, ensure chocolate treats stay well out of paws’ reach. If you believe your pet has eaten chocolate, immediately contact our Creature Comforts Veterinary Service team, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center, or the Pet Poison Helpline.
#2: An open door and strangers outside can cause your pet to run and hide
Halloween’s strange sights and sounds can frighten the most mild-mannered pet, who may react impulsively and run away through an open door. Prevent your pet from slipping outside as you greet trick-or-treaters by keeping them in a quiet area away from the door. Also, ensure your pet is microchipped and wears an identification (ID) tag, both with your current contact information, so your furry pal has a good chance of being returned to you should they escape.
#3: Pets wear costumes for your sake, so be kind and give them a break
We all enjoy seeing cute costumed pets. However, not all pets are comfortable dressing up. If your pet appears stressed when you start dressing them, do not force them to participate. If your pet is cooperative, ensure their costume is safe. When dressing your pet for Halloween, consider these factors:
- The costume’s fit — If the costume is too tight, your pet’s skin could become irritated, or they could have difficulty breathing. If the costume is too loose, they could get tangled in the extra material and trip or choke. Ensure your pet’s costume fits well.
- Your pet’s mobility — Some pet costumes impede their mobility, causing them to panic. Ensure your pet can move around easily while wearing their costume.
- Your pet’s vision — A costume that impedes your pet’s vision could be a safety hazard. Ensure your pet can see normally while wearing their costume.
- The costume’s embellishments — If your pet’s Halloween costume has embellishments on which they could trip, or tempt them to chew off, they are safety hazards. Ensure your pet’s costume doesn’t have any loose or dangling parts.
#4: Decorations create a spooky feel, but pets may view them as a meal
Spooky decorations add to the Halloween ambiance, but they could be harmful to your pet. Consider Halloween decorations’ dangers:
- Jack-o’-lanterns — Candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns can easily burn or singe curious pets, or cause a fire. If you light your jack-o’-lantern with a real burning candle, place it out of your pet’s reach or outside.
- Glow sticks — The liquid inside most glow sticks is nontoxic, but if your pet ingests the fluid, they will feel sick, making them drool and vomit. If glow sticks are part of your Halloween decor, keep them away from your pet, and dispose of the items carefully.
- Motion-activated figures — Animated figures can frighten and startle your pet, causing them stress, and possibly providing an impetus to run away.
- Cords — Some pets enjoy chewing electrical cords, which can lead to a shock or a fire. Keep all electrical cords hidden from your pet or out of their reach.
Contact Creature Comforts Veterinary Service to microchip your pet, and follow our Halloween safety tips to ensure your pet is set.