10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

August 20, 2013 | Comments Off

I was recently chosen to be a Pet360 Ambassador, and this means that you’ll see a few posts here from Pet360 over the next couple of months with some input from me sprinkled throughout. The post I chose for August/September has to do with 10 Halloween Safety Tips for Pets!

Halloween already? Well, yes! And I may not leave the house much due to chronic pain issues, but even I know that Halloween is right around the corner. Parents of kids with or without fur come in all types, those who plan ahead and those who wait until the last minute. Some of you may have your costumes already while others might go out the night before to get them. Either way is fine by me as I’ve done both for my furbabies. But what parents shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do is to make sure the pets in their homes are safe on the big day. Halloween is scary good fun for adults and many children, but for pets it can be just downright scary. Below are ten great tips for keeping dogs and cats safe on Halloween that originated at Pet360. Actually, many of these tips are useful year-round!

1. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets. All forms of chocolate — especially baking or dark chocolate — can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
I never give my furbabies any of that stuff, and I always keep it in sealed-tight containers, closed drawers, or high up in the pantry!

2. Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween. Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable nonetheless.
I never leave mine out for any reason any time of the year. No thank you.

3. Keep pets confined and away from the door. Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night … a night when no one wants to be searching for a lost loved one.
This makes me nervous every single day in normal situations! Whenever I open the door to bring in something UPS dropped off or whatever, I check the foyer a billion times to make sure none of the furbabies are around. And I speak from experience. At our other house when we had an open house (I was running it because my realtor was sick, usually we would have had the furbabies inside their carriers with us in the car), I let this couple inside just as one of my cats darted outside. I should have had her in a carrier, but I was stupid and didn’t. Whenever I think about it years later, my heart still sticks in my throat. Don’t be dumb like me! I mean, THANK GOD she came right back inside!

4. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
Black cats are just the best! I appreciate that shelters don’t adopt them out as a safety precaution, but it saddens me that there are people out there who want to hurt animals just because they can. Listen, we’ve adopted an elderly abused beagle before, so I know jerks exist. I just keep hoping that something changes in the world. That being said, I’ll never leave an animal of mine outside ever for any reason!

5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach. Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins…

6. Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets. Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach. If chewed, your pet could cut himself or herself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

8. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know they’ll love it. If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow.
Okay, well, my furbabies don’t loooove their costumes, but I never put them in anything that will cause them any kind of harm nor do I keep them in their costumes for very long.

9. Try on pet costumes before the big night. If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”. Festive bandanas usually work for party poopers, too.
Just take a look at these photos – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012! Aren’t they so, so cute? And, yes, I have this year’s costumes all picked out. There’s a theme this year, so come back and check them out!

10. IDs, please! If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet does have one of those fancy-schmancy embedded microchips.
This is something I am considering.

All great tips, right? So, yeah, safety concerns are always a big thing for me. I always want the best for my furbabies. Do you have any of your own tips that you’d like to add to their list? Please let me know!

(Full disclosure – I am blogging on behalf of BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network and Pet360. I was chosen as a Pet360 Ambassador and in exchange for this post have the chance to win a Gift Card to Pet360.)

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