Halloween is a happy time but it may not be so much fun for your furry friends. While you and your family are decorating your house, making your Halloween costumes and party arrangements remember that we pets are around and you need to be careful about us. I like being around people and I wear a costume. But not all dogs and cats are like me, so I got some hauntingly good advice from Jeremy Tubbs, DVM of Millwood Animal Hospital in New York. Here are some tips that can help you and your entire family have a Happy and safe Halloween.
1. Dressing up is not for every pet: You need to know your pet. I don’t mind wearing a jacket so I am happy to don my ladybug costume for the day. “Costumes are fine as long as they are not restrictive,” says Dr. Tubbs, “and be sure they don’t get overheated.” And he says, “Make sure you try it on beforehand. And don’t leave your pet unsupervised.” Be careful of small decorations on the costume that can fall off and your dog could eat them. And if your pet has allergies, some of the materials that the costumes are made from can be a problem
2. No Tricks or Treats for your pet: I love treats, but candy is never a good treat for us canines. “Chocolate and xylitol, an artificial sweetener, are toxic to pets. And most dogs do not tolerate sweet food items very well. These treats can cause gastrointestinal distress,” says Dr. Tubbs. Your dog could choke on a candy wrapper or a lollipop stick too. Keep candy away and have some low calorie dog biscuits on hand for us. I love a little bit of cooked pumpkin which is good for my digestion but a Halloween pumpkin is not good to eat. If your dog does snatch a treat you can call your vet or the Pet Poison hotline, 800-213-6680.
3. Watch Your Front Door: I love visitors but not all dogs or cats do. “Constant ringing of the door bell and strange costumes can be very scary and cause a great deal of anxiety,” says Dr. Tubbs. So unless they are like me it’s a good idea to crate us dogs (that’s the place I go to be safe) or put them in a separate room. “If you are not sure how your pet would tolerate these situations, I recommend that you err on the side of caution and just remove them from the stressors,” says Dr. Tubbs. This also keeps them from running out the door when Trick or Treaters call. And in case they do get out, be sure they have an ID tag with up to date information.
4. Decorations can be scary: Last night I heard a scary noise outside. When I went for my walk I saw creatures I had never seen before and heard screeching sounds so I barked. My owner said it was just Halloween decoration and not be worry. And just like candy, some of the Halloween symbols are not good for your pets. A flickering jack-o-lantern is fun but it might scare a dog (I don’t like candles or flashlights) and a curious cat might try to swipe the flame. “Also realize that your decorations may look like fun chew toys to them but may be very sharp, hot or cause unforeseen complications,” says Dr. Tubbs. Also, for a chewer like me it is wise to keep wires and cords out of reach.
You and your pets can have fun on Halloween if you just take a little extra care. I know I will have a good time, so here’s wishing you and that your dog or cat a stress-free happy haunting holiday too!
What are you planning to do for Halloween?