What you view as fun for Halloween might be scary, or even dangerous, for your pets. Country Critters Veterinary Hospital would like to shed some light on what to watch out for during this spooky holiday.
Costumes: While we may enjoy dressing up our furry friends, most dogs and cats are happier without clothing, and unnecessary stress might be avoided by not putting them into a costume. If you are going to put a costume on your pet, be sure that they are comfortable with it, and that it does not limit their ability to move, breathe, or see. Signs of discomfort include looking sideways, ears that are folded down, a hunched posture, and a tucked tail. Avoid any costume pieces that dangle or can be easily chewed off. Do not leave your pet unattended while it is wearing a costume.
Candy: Be sure that you keep ALL candy safely out of reach of your pets. Young children, who may want to share their treats with their furry friends, should also be supervised when around the pets. Some candies, such as chocolate and those containing the sweetener xylitol, can be very toxic if ingested by animals. Wrappers and pieces—such as lollipop sticks—have the potential of obstructing your pet’s digestive system and would require surgical removal.
Decorations: Be mindful of your four-legged friend when putting out any decorations. Any small decorations (or if your pet is likely to chew up larger decorations) could be ingested and cause an obstruction. Candles can get knocked over and potentially cause a fire, or could burn any curious pet. Be cautious of decorations with electrical cords that could be chewed, causing electrical shock or burns. Decorations with strings or loose pieces that may be tempting for your cat or dog to play with could become dangerous if they get tangled in them. Consider putting all decorations out of reach of your pet. Supervise your pet when they are exposed to the decorations, and consider putting them in a separate undecorated room when you are not around.
Strangers: With all of the sights and sounds that come with Halloween, it is possible for your pet (cats in particular) to become very anxious, or even scared. This anxiety could even provoke your pet to behave in a way that is not normal for them, such as biting or scratching someone that approaches them. Having a large number of people in your house or noisy children constantly coming to your door (particularly if they are dressed in costumes) may greatly increase your pet’s anxiety. Be sure that your pet has an area in the house where they can escape the commotion, or keep them in a separate room for the duration of the event. Caution should also be taken to prevent them from darting out of the door as people come and go. It is an excellent idea to be sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar with ID tags in the event that they do escape out the door. You may also consider having your pet microchipped if you have not already. This can ensure that they have some form of identification should they happen to lose their collar. These precautions will increase the chances of being reunited with a lost pet. If your dog or cat is especially social, they probably won’t mind all of the activity, and may even prefer to join you. It would be safest for your pet to leave them at home, but should you decide to include them in your activities be sure to keep them on a leash. Once again, ensure that they have some form of identification as they may become startled by something and run away.
You know your pet best, and are able to tell what they are comfortable with. The doctors and staff at Country Critters Veterinary Hospital encourage you to be even more aware of your four-legged friend’s surroundings, and how they are reacting to any changes that may occur this Halloween.