Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is the most hauntingly fun night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky. Your favorite ghouls over at Lincolnshire Animal Hospital put together these tips for creating a safe and spooktacular Halloween for all your four-legged monsters.
Keep It Creepy…Keep It Safe!
Halloween lit Jack-o-Lanterns are a staple for any house this time of year, but your pet can easily knock over the pumpkin and start a fire. Electrical cords from your lighted holiday decorations should be kept out of reach. If pulled, the cord could knock decorations off of tables or counter-tops, putting your pet at risk of cutting themselves on shards of glass or plastic. If chewed, your pet could receive a life-threatening electrical shock. While traditional pumpkins and decorative “Indian corn” are considered relatively nontoxic, they can cause tummy problems if your pet nibbles on them. To help prevent issue, keep pumpkins in a safe place, where children or pets cannot knock them over, wrap up your cords and keep them tucked out of the way, and make sure you don’t leave any of those decorations in reach of a curious pet who doesn’t know any better.
You Might Wanna Rethink Those Costumes…
Putting your 50lb Golden Retreiver in a football jersey and helmet might get your loads of likes on Facebook or Instagram, but chances are it is stressing your pet out. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you KNOW he or she loves being in it. If you choose to dress your pet for Halloween, please make sure that the costume fits properly, doesn’t restrict his/her movement, sight, or ability to breathe, bark, meow, or moo. Poorly fitting costumes can get caught on external objects or your pet, often leading to injury. Look over the garment carefully and remove any pieces that might be chewed off easily to prevent a choking hazard, and snip off any loose threads that might get caught on your pet’s collar or nails. Be sure your pet is comfortable in the costume, both physically and mentally, before the big night. If they seem stressed, consider letting your pet wear a festive bandana or collar instead.
Hide the Treats!
Though tempting, that big candy cauldron isn’t for your little Frankenweenie – but he doesn’t know that. In fact,many popular Halloween goodies are dangerous and even lethal to pets! According to the ASPCA, chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—is very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause very serious problems in pets. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures – and xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Keep Calm and Collar On
Halloween night brings a parade of people to your door and the constant ringing of the doorbell and knock-knock-knock of Trick-or-Treaters can cause some pets to lose their cool. Too many strangers dressed in unusual clothing, the door constantly opening and closing, and too much noise can often be very scary and stressful – even for the most social of pets! The ASPCA recommends that dogs and cats should be kept in separate rooms, away from the front door, during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the front door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet is wearing proper identification – including a collar with ID tags – and double check that your pet’s microchip information is current and up-to-date. Being proactive can be a lifesaver for your pet!
Pranks Aren’t Always Funny
I cannot believe we even have to say this – but Halloween often brings out vicious pranksters, who have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even poison pets with tainted treats. It seems like every year there are more and more news stories about animal cruelty, especially around this time of year. Inexcusable? YES! But preventable nonetheless. Keeping your pet safe and inside is the best, and really only, way to prevent any unforeseeable problems
Outdoor Cats Should Come Inside
If you are one of the families with outdoor kitties, you should consider keeping them inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters won’t adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.