Danger lurks on Halloween, and not just in spooky hollows or haunted houses. The occasion presents potential problems for your pets, but all will be well if you take a few precautions.
Here’s a rundown of common pet Halloween hazards and stressors and how to limit the risks to your favorite furry friends.
- That doggone doorbell. Unless you camp on your stoop with a big bowl of candy, doorbells and knocks could send your pups into a frenzy Halloween night. If your dogs are prone to uncontrollable barking, a PetSafe® Spray Bark Collar could save the night. It won’t work right out of the box like the latest flying broom, but if you start training a few days before the big night, you’ll find some relief from Howl-a-ween. Make sure your cat stays away from the front door so she doesn’t make a break for it in the midst of the Halloween hullabaloo. The PetSafe® blog offers other tips to protect your cat during Halloween Ensure your pet is microchipped or has an updated identity collar should he or she dart away into the night.
- The candy bowl. If you don’t distribute some form of chocolate treat, you’ll be prone to tricks. Chocolate is bad for dogs and cats, however, even in small doses. Their bodies can’t easily metabolize an alkaline -- called theobromine -- found in chocolate. The larger your dog, the more chocolate it takes to sicken him, so don’t panic if he sneaks a miniature from the candy bowl. Keep an eye out for signs of intense gastrointestinal distress and tremors. Small dogs or cats who consume large amounts of chocolate should receive veterinary care as soon as possible. Other candy is a no-go, too. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can stress the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal system. Keep that candy bowl out of reach, or consider a PetSafe® dog avoidance system or indoor barrier or such as the Pawz Away® Indoor Pet Barrier. Protect the bowl to protect your pup.
- Glow sticks are a no-go. They work great for adding a layer of protection to trick or treaters roaming dark streets, but glow sticks present a hazard for dogs and cats. The main threat is intense oral distress, as chemicals in glow sticks and glow jewelry, while largely harmless, have a very bad taste that tends to linger. Dogs and cats who bite into glow sticks will paw at their faces, drool and become generally agitated. Generous amounts of food and water are recommended to ease the discomfort. Keep and dispose of glow sticks in a safe place.
- Pet costumes. Cats and dogs alike can get tangled in costumes that are too ornate or have a lot of dangling parts. This could lead to breathing problems or injury, so it might be best to keep it simple. Perhaps a ghost-festooned or pumpkin-print bandanna can do the trick.
- Fire danger. Make sure your jack o’lantern or candles are safely out of reach. A curious kitty or sniffy dog could knock the pumpkin from its perch and cause a fire.
An ounce of precaution is worth a pound of Halloween candy. Follow these simple tips and All Hallow’s Eve will be frightfully fun for you and your pets.