Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

Halloween is a fun-filled holiday, but along with all the food and fun come some potential hazards for your pets. We would like to share with you a few extra precautions to keep your pet safe during this Halloween season:

If you dress your pet in a costume, make sure it is not annoying or unsafe for him. It should not obstruct your pet's vision, or constrict movement, hearing, or ability to breathe or bark. Check for any easily chewed-off pieces on the costume such as elastic, rubber bands, or buttons that could cause choking. Adding reflective tape to a pet costume is a good precaution if your pet will be in his costume after dark. Never leave your pet unsupervised in a costume.

Do not leave your pets outside unsupervised. By keeping your pets safely inside, they will be less frightened and will not feel threatened by noisy, costumed children. Black cats in particular may be at risk from children's pranks or other cruelty-related incidents.
When outside with your pet during this season, always keep her on a leash, and watch for items she may find to eat. Also, take your dog on her walk before the Halloween festivities begin. This will help keep your dog safe and calm.

Although tempting, do not bring the family dog along trick-or-treating. The noise and activity can frighten some dogs. The risk of a bad encounter with another dog is higher as neighborhood dogs may become more aggressive and territorial. Some children may be afraid of dogs, especially in the dark. A lost dog, dog bite, or a crying child will quickly end your Halloween fun.

Even the most social pets should be kept in a separate room during trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be overwhelming for pets and some children may be afraid of animals. If not in a separate room, be very careful your dog or cat does not dart outside when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. A pet gate at the front door or at the entry to the room on which the door opens will help prevent escapes. To protect them from drafts, possible escape, or injury, birds should be confined to a cage in a separate room while trick-or-treaters are about.
Make sure your dog or cat is wearing proper identification. If, for any reason, a pet does escape or become lost, you increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you if he is wearing a collar with an ID tag.

Jack-o-lanterns and candles can easily be knocked over with a wagging tail or by a curious kitten. Keep small Halloween decorations away from your pet, since they could cause choking. Streamers, ribbons, and other string-like materials could cause serious digestive problems if swallowed. Any wires and cords to lights and other decorations could also pose a hazard.

Keep Halloween candy away from your pet. Explain to children that candy, especially chocolate, can be harmful and make an animal sick. Candies and gums containing large amount of the sweetener xylitol can also be toxic to pets. Tin foil and cellophane wrappers can be dangerous if swallowed. If you are having a party, remember that other foods and alcoholic drinks can also be hazardous to pets. To avoid indigestion (for you and your pet!), limit the treats!
If you suspect your pet may have become exposed to a potentially poisonous substance, contact your local veterinarian or emergency clinic.

Have a fun-filled and safe Halloween.

Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.