Although most of us enjoy Halloween, for many pets, this holiday is the year’s scariest because they do not understand that a bit of fright can be fun. Nonstop doorbell ringing, costumed strangers, bizarre lights, and weird noises can terrify your pet. Read our Bayview Animal Hospital team’s five tips for minimizing your pet’s fear and anxiety—and preventing medical emergencies—to enjoy a happy Halloween.
#1: Ditch the doorway drama—keep pets away from the action
All the Halloween front-door action can put your pet on high alert. If the ringing doorbell triggers your pet, consider posting a sign asking trick-or-treaters to knock quietly. Prevent your pet from slipping out the door as you greet guests by keeping your furry pal in a quiet room or house area away from the door. Turn on a radio, television, or white-noise sound machine to help muffle the outside noise. If your pet suffers from anxiety or noise aversion, contact our Bayview Animal Hospital team to discuss medication that may ease your furry pal’s Halloween fears. In addition, ensure your pet is microchipped, and is wearing an ID tag with your current contact information.
#2: Avoid a costume catastrophe—dress your pet safely
Costumed pets can be fun for people to admire, but the garments can be dangerous for pets. If your pet will be wearing a costume this Halloween, ensure their comfort and safety by doing the following:
- Choose wisely — Ensure the costume allows your pet to move freely, and that the outfit does not restrict their vision and breathing.
- Avoid embellishments — Remove all tags, buttons, strings, or laces that—if swallowed—may cause your pet to choke or experience a gastrointestinal blockage.
- Supervise your pet — Always keep an eye on your costumed pet, and watch their body language for discomfort signs, such as panting, drooling, tail tucking, freezing in place, and pinning back their ears. If your pet displays any of these signs, immediately remove their costume.
#3: Prevent your pet becoming a candy caper—store candy securely
If your curious pet eats Halloween—or any—candy, they could have a serious health emergency. While most people know that chocolate is toxic to pets, many other sweets are equally harmful, including:
- Sugar-free candy — Sugar-free candy and gum contain xylitol, a natural sweetener, which can cause your pet to experience low blood sugar (i.e., hypoglycemia) and liver damage. Prevent your pet from ingesting treats that include this ingredient.
- Raisins — Your little ghoul may be disappointed to find a box of raisins in their candy stash, but keep these treats away from your pet, because they can cause severe illness. Ensure your pet does not eat raisins or grapes, which can cause kidney damage and acute kidney failure.
- Macadamia nuts — Nuts have a high fat content that can cause your pet to experience pancreatitis. Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous, and if your pet eats them, they can experience lethargy, weakness, and tremors.
In addition to the potentially dangerous sweets within, candy wrappers pose a choking risk if your pet eats them. Ingested candy wrappers can also cause your pet to have a gastrointestinal obstruction, which requires surgical removal. Remember, when you are handing out Halloween candy, keep the treat bowl out of your pet’s reach to prevent them from knocking the container to the floor, and wolfing down as many tempting sweets as they can before you get them all picked up. Also, remind children not to share candy with their furry pal.
#4: Keep curious pets away from fire—place pumpkins up high
Burning candles give jack-o’-lanterns their spooky glow, but they are a fire hazard, especially if your pet’s excitedly swishing tail knocks the pumpkin to the floor. In addition, if your pet eats a large amount of pumpkin, they can develop stomach upset. Keep all pumpkins—with or without burning candles—out of your pet’s reach. Some Halloween hazards go far beyond jack-o’-lanterns’ fire risk, and you must use caution, especially with electric cords, fog machines, dry ice, glow sticks, and faux cobwebs.
#5: Avoid Halloween hijinks—leave your pet home
Your pet will not experience FOMO if you do not include them in your trick-or-treating trek. Most pets prefer to stay home on Halloween to avoid the hectic happenings. Leaving your pet home is the safest choice, but—if you decide to bring them along—ensure your furry companion’s comfort and safety by taking the following precautions:
- Keep your pet on a leash at all times.
- Avoid overly crowded and noisy areas.
- Watch your pet for anxiety signs.
- Ensure your pet is wearing a collar and ID tags.
- Dress your pet in a reflective vest or collar.
Take extra precautions this Halloween to ensure your pet’s safety and wellbeing. However, if your pet has a Halloween emergency, contact our team at Bayview Animal Hospital.