Trick or Treat: Halloween Safety Tips for Pets in 2020

Halloween is right around the corner! 2020 has been a very different and challenging year, but many are finding a little bit of joy in starting the holiday season off with Halloween celebrations. People are planning costumes, stocking up on candy, putting up spooky decorations and finding creative ways to safely celebrate despite the pandemic. But it’s important to remember that a holiday like Halloween that is filled with fun treats for us can include a lot of dangerous tricks for our pets. In today’s blog post we’re going to discuss different safety tips to ensure that the entire family enjoys Halloween, even our furry friends at home.

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Owning a pet doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy Halloween. There are just things that you should keep in mind about the holiday, how it could affect your pet, and some simple ways you can ensure their health and safety on Halloween.

Keep your pets inside

The best place for your pet to be on Halloween night is inside. While humans get to enjoy a lot of wonderful treats on Halloween, unfortunately, there are many stories of tricksters being less than kind to pets left outside. There are a couple of simple ways you can avoid injury or violence against your pet.

If your dog needs to go outside, don’t let them out in the yard alone. Walk them out in the yard on a leash so you can make sure they can’t wander off from you. Once they’re done, take them back inside where they can stay safe and sound.

If your cat spends time indoors and outdoors, be sure that they stay inside on Halloween. Your cat may not be very pleased, but it’s the best option for them on Halloween. It’s a good idea to make sure they don’t dart out the front door when you’re sharing treats with any trick-or-treaters you may have.

Halloween Candy

Treats for humans aren’t usually a treat for your pet. A lot of Halloween candy and other goodies are toxic to our pets. Some common things to keep out of reach of your pet:

  • Chocolate
    • Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats and should always be kept away from them. If you think your pet has accidentally ingested chocolate, you should take them to an emergency clinic right away.
  • Candy sweetened with xylitol
    • Xylitol is even more toxic to your dog than chocolate is. A natural alternative to sugar, it’s used in a lot of gums, peanut butter, hard candies, and other treats humans enjoy.  
  • Raisins (and grapes)
    • Raisins and grapes are a popular, healthy treat to hand out on Halloween, but if your pet gets a hold of them, it could be an unhappy ending. These healthy alternatives to candy can cause kidney failure in your pet.
  • Wrappers and bags
    • If your pet gets a hold of candy wrappers, it could cause your pet to choke. Empty goody bags could also cause your pet to suffocate if they get their head stuck inside and begin to breathe.

Even though your pet can’t eat the same Halloween treats that you do, you can buy Halloween-themed treats and toys made specifically for your pet if you don’t want them to feel left out. Visit your local pet store or pet treat bakery to find festive treats that are safe for your pet!

Halloween Decorations

Hanging fake cobwebs, carving pumpkins, and making our houses look more spooky than usual is part of the fun surrounding Halloween. But Halloween decorations are the biggest risk to our pets behind Halloween candy. Like anything in your house, it’s important to use just a little common sense with decor around your pet.

When you carve your pumpkins this year, opt to use battery-operated tea lights instead of real candles. Jack-o-lanterns aren’t always stable, and a clumsy but well-intentioned pet could cause a fire by knocking into it while it’s lit.

Make sure any Halloween decorations that may resemble a toy to your pet are kept out of their reach. Fake cobwebs may look a little too inviting to your cat, and those styrofoam pumpkins may resemble a brightly colored ball to your dog. If your pet does start chewing on your decorations, monitor their behavior. If they start to feel sluggish and act lethargic after getting into your decorations, contact your vet right away.

Halloween Pet Costumes

Sure, Halloween costumes for pets can be adorable, but not every pet is thrilled with the idea of getting dressed up. A costume can be scary and restricting to a pet that isn’t used to wearing anything other than their natural fur coat.

If you’re going to opt for a pet costume, make sure your pet still has plenty of mobility while wearing it. It shouldn’t be loose enough that they trip when they try to walk, but it also shouldn’t be so tight that they can’t move around freely. 

Avoid costumes that restrict your pet’s vision. Masks or large headpieces can keep your pet from seeing the full scope of what’s around them, which can be very scary for an animal that doesn’t understand what’s going on. A pet whose sight is restricted has to rely on their other senses for information, and any strange smells or sounds could set them on edge. 

For more pet costumes tips and suggestions, check out the Humane Society’s list of pet-friendly costume options.

Pet-Friendly Halloween

Holiday pet safety doesn’t have to be a scary, doom and gloom topic. Your entire family can enjoy a little bit of spooky fun if you follow the right steps and keep an eye on your pet throughout the night. Just plan to monitor your pet to assure that they’re doing okay on Halloween, and set aside a safe, familiar, quiet space for them to hide away and decompress if needed. For a dog, this might be their crate inside a dark, quiet room. For a cat, you may reserve a Halloween-celebration-free room for them to chill out if the festivities get to be too much. 

All of us at PetWellClinic wish you a very safe, healthy, happy Halloween. Our locations will still be open on Halloween Saturday for your convenience if your pet needs something before the celebrations start. Visit our website to find the right location for you, and to view our list of services available for you and your pet.

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