Halloween can be a festive and fun time of year for children and families, but for family pets, it can be a stressful and even dangerous time of year.GSRNE offers pet owners some common sense tips to help keep your pets safe during this time of year.
Don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, even killed pets on this night.
Walk the dog early on Halloween night and hold the leash firmly. Dogs don’t understand masks and can be overwhelmed by shrieking children.
Make sure your dog is seen by cars. Purchase a reflective vest.
Trick or treat candies are not for pets. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and may take very little depending on your dog’s size. Tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. Raisins are also poisonous for your dog so make sure that trick or treat stash is out of your dog’s reach.
Be careful with pets around a lit pumpkin: they may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious puppies and kittens especially run the risk of getting burned.
Don’t dress the dog (or cat) in costume unless you know he or she
loves it; otherwise, it puts too much stress on the animal. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe; it should not constrict movement, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Also, there should not be small, dangling or easily chewed- off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on. Dress the pet a few times before Halloween to get it used to wearing the costume.
Make sure that even outdoor cats are indoors several days before, during and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be at risk from children’s pranks or cruelty incidents.
Be careful not to obstruct your pet’s vision: even the sweetest animal can get snappy when he or she can’t see.
All but the most social dogs (and cats) should be kept in a separate room during trick or treat visiting hours, too many strangers in strange garb can be scary for a dog or cat. Lots of doorbell rings will cause your dog to bark a lot — try to calm him as best you can.
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, be very careful your dog (or cat) doesn’t dart outside. If possible, remove the top half of your screen/storm door and pass the candy through the opening or keep a leash on your pet so you can grab it quickly if the animal runs out the door.
Make sure your dog (or cat) is wearing proper identification. If, for any reason, they escape and become lost, you increase the chances that they will be returned to you.
If your dog can handle the excitement/stress and goes along with family trick-or-treaters (make sure an adult goes along also), make sure he doesn’t become chilled (or overheated in warmer climates).
(tips courtesy of the ASPCA)
One Long Island cat owner relates her own horrific Halloween tale about the deadly dangers of fake spider webs. Heed the warning: Don’t let treats, fire hazards or decorations turn your holiday into a real scare.