Halloween is just around the corner and for many of us, it’s a great opportunity to go wild with costume ideas, consume plenty of candy and other treats, and generally have a horrifically good time. Unfortunately for many animals, Halloween is anything but fun. In fact, it can be downright deadly.
Fortunately, with the right information, Halloween doesn’t have to be a scary prospect for your pet. Here’s what you need to know about the top dangers your pet might face on the most frightful night of the year and how to avoid them!
There are lots of delicious treats that we associate with Halloween and that are left out on porches, in backyards, and around the home. Unfortunately, many of these treats are highly toxic to pets with candy being particularly dangerous. Not only do some types of candy present a choking risk, but many also contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets and could make your furbaby incredibly sick. One of the most common is xylitol which is a sugar substitute. If it is consumed in even moderate quantities, it could be deadly for your pet. Chocolate isn’t safe either. Keep your cute creature safe this Halloween by making sure that any unsafe treats are kept firmly out of reach!
In recent years, a growing number of owners have taken to involving their pets in the festivities by getting them into a Halloween costume of their very own. In fact, more pets than ever before now dress up too. Whilst some tolerate their costumes well, others can become very distressed and so it is crucial that you make sure your pet is happy in theirs before the night. If not, they could become so upset that they run away and become hurt or make themselves sick through stress. Another problem is that some costumes, whether yours or your pet’s, contain dangling elements or material that incite your pet to chew them – putting them at risk of choking. Be sure to pick your costume wisely and if you do decide to dress your pet up too, make sure you select a practical costume that they are happy to spend time in before the night.
Decorations are part and parcel of the whole Halloween experience, but they can be dangerous for our pets. This is because animals tend to explore new things with their mouths, and this could include checking out your Halloween decorations. There are lots of ways this could be dangerous. Plastic creepy crawlies and stringy stuff used for spiderwebs could be choking hazards, whilst open flames in candles put your pet at risk of burns whilst also increasing your risk of a house fire. Glow sticks and jewelry can be harmful too since they contain a substance called dibutyl phthalate which isn’t toxic in low doses but can irritate your pet’s skin and eyes. Be mindful when you choose your decorations and never, ever leave an open flame unattended.
Pumpkins are everywhere around Halloween. They are primarily used as jack-o-lanterns, lighting the way from door to door and adorning windowsills. However, we tend to leave them outside when we are finished with them. Unfortunately, spoiling, molding pumpkins can cause digestive upset in curious pets that decide to snack on them. Make sure to properly dispose of your pumpkins when Halloween is done.
One of the best things that you can do for your pet this Halloween is to keep them indoors on the night itself. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, your pet could become frightened. People in costume and decorations that make the area they know so well look very different can all be quite traumatic for sensitive pets, causing them to become anxious and frightened. Scared pets are more likely to run off, either into the path of danger and become hurt, or to such an extent that they become lost. Unfortunately, a small minority of people also use Halloween as an excuse for awful behavior, with animals and in particular black cats, being targeted for pranks and downright cruelty. Your pet is safest when they are indoors with you, so be sure to get your furbaby inside in plenty of time.
If you would like more advice on the best way to ensure that your pet has a safe and happy Halloween, please get in touch with our veterinary team.