Recently, we wrote about how your choice of Halloween candy has an effect on the environment and the lives of animals. But with Halloween upon us, we wanted to mention the importance of safeguarding your animals as well. Trick or Treat can be a very dangerous time for our pets. Here are a few things you should know and how you can keep them out of harm’s way on October 31st and the days surrounding it.
While there’s been no true proof of the urban legend that black cats are stolen as they walk around neighborhoods on Halloween, it’s still a good idea to take your animals out early to walk and then bring them in before the trick or treaters. This will keep them out of danger with the traffic around the neighborhood and keep them away from children running with costumes on. All of this can be confusing to a pet and even very docile animals can turn aggressive when they are scared.
The incessant doorbell ringing can be unnerving to pets so you want to minimize it as much as possible. If your pet is extremely stressed by strangers (and most are to some extent) keep them somewhere they feel safe and comforted. And since most animals associate ringing doorbells with strangers, try to cut down the ringing of your doorbell by sitting outside with your treats. For extremely nervous animals, consider skipping handing out Halloween treats at home altogether.
Animals can escape quickly while you’re filling trick or treater’s bags. If you don’t plan on giving out treats outside, make sure your pets are crated or in a room away from the front door.
Candy is not a good food for pets and can be deadly to some animals. Yet animals are strangely drawn to our good-smelling treats. Make sure you place the candy you’re giving away out of their reach or in a bowl with a snap-on lid. When the kids come home with their bounty and you’re “checking” it, as you sort it, make sure it is out of reach of pets.
Sometimes kids come home and spread their candy wealth on the floor while they trade it and decide what they want to eat. A sneaky pet can get in there and help themselves without anyone realizing it. If the kids insist on trading their bounty, have them sit at the kitchen or dining room table or stand at a counter away from pets.
Even calm dogs can become unnerved by all the revelry. People are in costume, running, and shouting. To a dog, those are warning signs and something to be afraid of. When dogs are afraid or bothered, they could act aggressively, even if they never have in the past. Also, if your dog is very protective of your family, they may perceive a friend running up in a costume, screaming with glee, as a threat. You don’t want your dog injuring someone because of a case of mistaken intention. Plus, some people are scared of dogs and since dogs since apprehension in others, this can contribute to their unease.
Candy isn’t the only item they could eat that can make them very sick. Pets don’t always have a sense of things that will place their lives in jeopardy if they consume it. They are curious about new items around the house and will often express that curiosity through trying to figure out what something is by putting it in their mouth, just like toddlers. Small items can block airways and intestines when ingested. The chemicals in costume makeup can cause liver failure in some species when ingested. Keep your pets safe by keeping an eye on small party favors and makeup and never leaving those things unattended with your pets nearby.
Halloween is a lot of fun for us but can be dangerous for our pets. Don’t spend the night or the days after at an emergency vet hospital because your pet ate something they shouldn’t have. Follow these simple tips to ensure your animals remain happy and healthy during this time.