Halloween is either delightfully spooky or horribly terrifying — often with no in between. Your pet may feel the same and seem unaffected by all the creepy commotion or frightened by ghosts and goblins. Regardless of how your furry pal feels about Halloween, they are at risk for several hazardous situations. Protect your pet from running afoul of Halloween horrors with the tips provided by our Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital team.
Halloween pet horror: The candy
The problem: Candy of all sorts can be dangerous for your pet. From chocolate and sugar-free options, to foil wrappers and sucker sticks, your furry pal is at risk for toxicity, choking, and gastrointestinal (GI) obstructions.
The solution: Keeping candy out of your pet’s paws is easier said than done, especially if they insist on helping you hand out treats to trick-or-treaters, so stockpile your candy stash in a latching cabinet, and ensure the candy bowl is out of reach in between the rushes of costumed children. Also, when you finish binging on Reese’s cups or other favorite goodies, ensure you pick up and discard all wrappers.
You can also protect your pet from sweet dangers by understanding the risks caused by assorted candies. Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart issues, while sugar-free snacks sweetened with xylitol can lead to hypoglycemia and liver failure. Sugar-free, chocolate-covered raisins pack a triple threat, and can cause kidney failure in dogs. If your pet ingests any of these treats, seek emergency veterinary treatment.
Halloween pet horror: The costumes
The problem: From adorable to creepy, funny to frightening, you may have been perusing the endless pet costume choices. However, before you buy, consider that your pet may not share your enthusiasm about dressing up for Halloween. Many pets don’t enjoy being stuffed in an ill-fitting costume and may attempt to gnaw their way free, choking on buttons, strings, or other small pieces.
The solution: If your pet is content wearing a costume, ensure the fit is perfect, the costume does not restrict your pet’s movement, vision, and breathing, and all dangling pieces that could become choking or blockage hazards are removed. If your pet does not appreciate being dressed up in a full costume, let them wear a festive bandana or collar or go au naturel on Halloween.
Halloween pet horror: The trick-or-treaters
The problem: Some pets’ worst nightmare is the constant stream of weird-looking strangers encroaching on their territory. The doorbell ringing endlessly, combined with people who are unfamiliar and look unsettling, can trigger anxiety, stress, and fear in your pet, who may dart through the open door in search of a quiet sanctuary, and become lost.
The solution: Create a quiet, comfortable haven where your pet can feel safe and secure. Choose a room far away from the front door commotion, or block their access to the door to prevent escape. Set up a cozy bed and blanket, an interactive or chew toy, and a soothing soundtrack to help drown out the “trick or treat!” chorus.
Halloween pet horror: The decorations
The problem: Flickering jack-o’-lanterns, stringy spider webs, thick fog, and ear-splitting shrieks may delight the neighborhood children, but these decorations pose a variety of hazards for your pet.
The solution: Although your home may already be pet-proofed, holidays introduce new hazards, so plan carefully to prevent problems. To avoid singed whiskers or a potential house fire, swap out the real candles in your jack-o’-lanterns with battery operated candles. Place intriguing decor out of your pet’s reach to prevent ingestion of items that could lead to choking or a GI obstruction, and cover all power cords. Use fog machines only outdoors, and keep them well away from birds and enclosed spaces.
While you may not find inflatable, screaming monsters overly frightening, consider them from your pet’s point of view. Unnatural movements and ear-piercing sounds can freak them out, so watch for anxiety and noise aversion signals from your pet.
Halloween pet horror: The dark yard
The problem: As the sun goes down, all manner of mischief can occur if you let your pet stay outside. While lack of lighting is not only a holiday issue, never leave your pets unsupervised in your yard at Halloween, because all the loud, spooky sounds and sights can frighten your pet, who may flee in terror.
The solution: If your furry pal loves to dig or is a skilled jumper, you should keep them company outside and watch closely that they don’t attempt to play escape artist. Turn on your motion-activated light outdoors, or take a flashlight to keep an eye on your pet at all times. Walk the perimeter of your fence to check for holes, gaps, or gates left open where your pet could escape, or keep them leashed for extra security. Ensure your pet’s microchip contact information and collar ID tags are up-to-date in case your four-legged friend runs off in the night.
If your pet is not yet microchipped, that is one of the best ways to prevent a Halloween horror from ruining your holiday. A microchip is the only permanent identification form and can make the difference between a scary situation, or a happy reunion. Call our Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital team or book online to set up a microchipping appointment and help ensure a happy, safe Halloween.