Like I told you Monday, tonight is Trick-or-Treat night in my town! I am sooo excited!! It's been pretty rainy here, so I hope that clears up before tonight! With all that being said, I thought I'd share this email newsletter about Halloween safety tips for animals.
Tips to Help Keep Your Dogs and Cats Safe This Halloween
Halloween is meant to be fun, but it can also be frightening, especially for skittish pets. The items and activities we associate with the holiday — candy, costumes, trick-or-treating — can spell trouble for dogs and cats if you aren't careful. To help ease any pre-holiday anxiety, we spoke with veterinarian Dr. Sandra Sawchuk, who offered her tips for making Halloween enjoyable for your furry family members.
- Keep your pets inside. Sawchuk speaks from experience on this one: Her father lost his poodle one Halloween when the dog went running out the door after some costumed kids came by. "The constant trick-or-treating, coupled with excited kids in funny masks, can be frightening for some dogs," Sawchuk tells PEOPLEPets.com. "And if your dog is territorial, the situation can be dangerous for people on the other side of the door, too."
- If you have a pet who normally lives outside, bring him in, and be sure to keep a close eye on cats, too. "There's the belief that on Halloween, someone's going to abduct your black cat and use him for a satanic ritual," she says. "I don't know how often that happens, but any cat can be at risk of being startled and [then] bolting on Halloween, especially in a busy neighborhood. "
- Use flameless candles. Sure they look cute lighting up your jack-o'-lantern, but candles are obviously dangerous to curious dogs and cats, who could accidentally knock lit pumpkins over. "You don't want your pets burned or your house starting on fire," Sawchuk says.
- Store candy out of reach. "Everyone's always concerned about chocolate, but a wad of anything sweet, sugary and fatty going through your dog's system can cause vomiting and diarrhea too," Sawchuk warns. "We've had dogs swallow suckers before, and the sucker sticks get stuck in places they don't belong." Be sure the candy you're handing out is in a safe place, and that your kids don't leave candy within reach of your pets, either.
- If your dog does ingest a large amount of milk chocolate — one ounce per pound of body weight or more — seek medical attention immediately. "It doesn't take many little Hershey bars to add up to that," Sawchuk says.
- Since cats don't generally go for candy, you don't need to be as vigilant with them. But if you have a cat who has tried to eat sweets in the past, make sure he can't access your treats.
- If your dog must go outside, stay with him. Depending on your dog's temperament and the amount of traffic in your neighborhood, it may be acceptable to take him trick-or-treating, Sawchuk says. But be sure to keep your pup on a leash, and hang back from people's front doors.
- "Sometimes, people will have a family member hiding near the door to scare kids," she explains. "Your dog may get protective if he suddenly thinks you're in danger — it can be frightening." Be sure to keep your leashed dog away from unfamiliar kids, too; they may not know how to handle pooches properly.
- Only put costumes on willing dogs. "Most dogs hate dressing up, and putting a costume on them makes them scared," Sawchuk shares. "It's just not fair to the dog." Regardless of how tempted you are by cute Halloween costumes, if you know your dog well, and know he doesn't like dressing up, avoid trying to do so.