People enjoy most holiday festivities more than their pets, and Halloween is no exception. Many pets are normally anxious around strangers, bright lights, loud noises, and unusual activities, all highlights of the spooky season. Keep in mind that while you may love strobing lights, a blood-covered costume, and shrieking witch and howling werewolf decorations, your pet is likely to send up a howl for help. Halloween can be the spookiest night of the year, but with proper precautions, you can keep your pet safe from any terrifying tricks. Here, our Holland Lake Animal Hospital team lists five ways to help your furry pal have a howling good Halloween night.
#1: Stash the candy away from your two- and four-legged children
Kids are occasionally great at sharing, especially with their furry pal. However, when your child shares their sugar-laden haul with your pet, they create a recipe for disaster. For your child and your pet’s safety, keep Halloween candy stashed away, unless you are supervising. Ensure your child picks up their wrappers and does not share any goodies with their four-legged friend, since wrappers, candies, and gum can lead to gastrointestinal obstructions and food toxicities, such as chocolate and xylitol poisoning.
#2: Dress up your pet in their favorite costume, not yours
Does your pet truly enjoy being dressed in the year’s most popular pet costume? Your pooch acting like a bucking bronco with a cowboy doll strapped to their back may look hilarious, but they may actually be panicking that something is “attacking” them. Consider your pet’s body language and emotional state when dressing them up—if they have wide eyes, a tucked tail, or a frozen-in-fear stance, they would probably be much happier in their favorite costume—their birthday suit.
However, if your four-legged friend delights in cute, clever costumes, and prances around with a wagging tail and lolling tongue, choose a well-fitting costume. Pet costumes can easily slip and slide over eyes, noses, and mouths, or become too tight around legs and necks with movement. Check your pet’s costume carefully for fit and potential choking hazards, such as buttons, bows, and zippers, that your pet may be tempted to chew.
#3: Watch out for Halloween hazards for your pet
While candy and costumes certainly pose enormous risks for your pet, Halloween decorations can also be dangerous. Pumpkins and corn stalks are perfect for a rustic entryway, but can become moldy and be a toxin source if your pet eats your decor. Lit jack-o-lanterns, whether by candle or electricity, can also be hazardous, as curious pets can knock over candles or chew on electric wires. Keep spider webs, battery-operated monsters, fog machines, and glow sticks well away from inquisitive pets, since these items can cause them mild to more serious gastrointestinal and toxicity issues.
#4: Outfit your pet with multiple identification forms
Although your door may not open as much this year as Halloweens past, your furry pal could still sneak out an unattended entryway when you’re distracted by the adorable costumes of your friends’ and family’s children. To prevent an unthinkable horror, outfit your pet with an updated collar ID tag and check their microchip to ensure its efficacy. Multiple identification forms, along with current pictures, are the best way to guarantee a safe return for a missing pet.
#5: Set up a pet-friendly trick-or-treat area
If your Halloween seems less exhilarating than usual with the novel coronavirus pandemic still lingering, create your own trick-or-treat stop in your home that includes your four-legged friend. Your child may also want to get involved in performing tricks for treats, and you can set up a talent show, obstacle course, or trick stations in your home to entertain the entire family. After each successful trick, toss your pet a healthy treat (e.g., fresh veggies, small pieces of lean meat, tiny chunks of banana, or Lean Treats), or your child a fun-size candy bar. Or, instead of treats as prizes, choose interactive toys, an invigorating activity, or exciting game, and reduce the amount of sugar-filled goodies and empty calories for your two- and four-legged children.
Despite all your planning and preparation, Halloween may still hold horrors for your pet. If your furry pal runs across a terrifying trick instead of a tasty treat and gets into trouble, contact our Holland Lake Animal Hospital team for help.