Toil and trouble: Four Halloween pet dangers

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Halloween is a fun night for humans and pets alike – there’s excitement in the air, everyone stays up late and goes out after dark, the air is practically saturated with sugar. And as long as you keep some pet safety tips in mind, there’s no reason to leave your fur babies out of the fun!

  1. Have fun with trick-or-treating
    Trick-or-treating can be stressful for your pets in a few ways: they may have anxiety meeting strangers or hearing the doorbell, they may encounter small children who pull tails and poke eyes, they may be overwhelmed by the sounds and smells. But whether you have a high-stress pet or an easygoing one, you can still participate in the trick-or-treating fun.

If you’re staying home with anxious pets:

  • Keep your pets in a room far from the front door
  • Provide a safe space, such as a kennel or closet, for them to hide in
  • Provide favorite blankets or toys
  • Give special treats
  • Hand out treats from the garage or driveway

Staying home with fur babies who love other humans? You should still take precautions, such as keeping a pet gate up in your doorway to keep curious trick-or-treaters at a safe distance, prevent anyone from zooming out the door, and to make sure kiddos at the door aren’t afraid of your dog.

If you’re venturing out with your dog, be sure you:

  • Use a secure leash and harness
  • Microchip your dog before Halloween
  • Put identification tags on your dog’s collar

If you plan to leave an anxious pet home while you go out, you can:

  • Turn off porch light or hang a sign alerting trick-or-treaters not to ring the doorbell
  • Put a bowl of candy on the porch or at the end of the driveway to discourage doorbell ringing and knocking
  • Leave your pets in a safe space, where they can’t escape or become injured trying to escape

Treats for you, tricks for your pets
Several Halloween treats are toxic for your pets, including sugar-free candies, gum, chocolate, and raisins. Small toys that make their way from your kids’ pumpkin buckets to the floor also pose a choking hazard.

Keep all the candy out of reach of your pets, whether that means in a cabinet, on top of a fridge, in a pantry, or on top of the table. Store candy in a container with a lid so if a crafty cat does find it on top of a cabinet, it’s still impossible to get into it.

If your pet ingests any Halloween candy, give Veterinary Referral Hospital of Hickory a call right away. It’s best to call us and not need us, than to need us and not call.

Scary decorations
Halloween decorations are meant to spook people, but they could pose a real danger to your pets. That includes:

  • Real candles in jack-o’-lanterns
  • Batteries (if chewed)
  • Cords in yards
  • Items that make loud noises that could spook your pet

Keep your pets separate from your carved pumpkins. If you’re venturing out with your dog, make sure he doesn’t chew on any stray cords and that his harness and leash are secure in case of loud sounds.

Claws-trophobic costumes
Whether your pet wears a costume without complaint or shakes it off at the first opportunity, keep a constant eye on them. You don’t want your dog walking around with a paw stuck in a neck hole, or your cat ingesting fabric after chewing himself loose. Stay away from dyes and hair sprays meant for human use, and from small accessories that could pose choking hazards.

There’s no reason your fur babies can’t get into the spooky spirit, as long as you take some steps to keep them safe and happy.

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