#1: Do avoid trick-or-treater trouble by giving your pet a safe space in your home
While Halloween visitors can be great fun for children and adults, they are often extra stressful for pets. Many dogs and cats are already coping with changes from the pandemic, ranging from people with face masks to family members being home more often—sometimes less often—than usual.
Multiple strangers wearing spooky masks and costumes ringing and knocking on the door may further confuse your pet, and trigger fearful or aggressive reactions, such as growling, inappropriate elimination, snapping, or biting. Small dogs and cats may dart outside through the repeatedly opening doors to escape the scary environment, resulting in a lost pet.
Prevent Halloween from being a negative experience for your favorite canine or feline by providing them with a safe haven before festivities start. Set up a crate, if they are crate-trained, or a comfy bed, in a quiet room with a door that shuts. Provide soothing items such as their favorite treat or toy, or a much-loved blanket. Turn soft music or the television on low to provide “white noise” to calm your pet. Check on them throughout the evening, and offer praise and love for good behavior.
#2: Don’t give your pets access to Halloween treats
The tempting treats you love can be dangerous for your pets. Chocolate, raisins, and xylitol, a substance found in sugarless gum and other sugar-free sweets, can be highly toxic—sometimes deadly—to dogs who, like us, find them appealing. Toxicity is proportionate to the amount consumed, and signs can include gastrointestinal (GI) upset (i.e., vomiting and diarrhea), seizures, dangerously rapid heart rate, liver failure, kidney failure, and death. Some dogs will eat empty wrappers, which smell so good, but can wad up in their stomach or intestines, causing obstruction and a serious, surgical emergency.
Protect your pets by keeping your treats inaccessible, such as in a high cabinet, the refrigerator or freezer, or a tightly closed drawer. Put wrappers in a trash can with a sturdy lid. If your furry friend gets into the Halloween goodies, despite your best efforts, call Animal Medical Hospital of Naples as soon as possible, so we can help determine if they’ve eaten a toxic amount and need veterinary attention right away.
#3: Do think carefully about costuming your pet
Your pet may look completely adorable dressed as Little Bo-Peep or Darth Vader, but costumes are not a good idea for several reasons:
- Bad fit — The costume often does not fit your pet properly, and they may stumble, and injure themselves.
- Bad fabric — Many costumes are made of plastic or fabric that can cause your pet to overheat and have trouble breathing.
- Bad vision — Masks may obstruct your pet’s vision, causing them to bump into things, or fall down stairs or from stoops.
If you do costume your pet, check regularly on their comfort, and do not leave them alone in their outfit. Ensure that ties and fasteners are not too tight, and don’t impede your pet’s ability to move or breathe. Remove the costume immediately if your pet seems to be panicking or struggling. Don’t let them chew off buttons or bows, which can lead to GI obstructions. Always make comfort and safety the primary considerations when choosing your pet’s costume.
#4: Do remember that Halloween is not the only risky night for your pet
Mischief Night, the night before Halloween, and the day after also can be risky for pets. Animals, particularly black cats, often suffer poor treatment on Mischief Night, so keep your pets indoors or under your control if mischief-makers are out and about, creating mayhem. Hazards also abound for pets the day after Halloween, from broken glow sticks to toxic treats and wrappers left on the ground, which can lead to health problems (e.g., oral irritation, GI upset, and abdominal obstruction) if your pet eats them. On November 1, accompany your pet outdoors, and ensure no Halloween leftovers harm your pet.
If you have questions or concerns about keeping your pet safe this Halloween, please call us. Our team wants to help ensure you both have a happy Halloween.