5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

halloween pumpkin Given the three mystery books I’ve written with the help of my menagerie, our family obviously loves mysteries. But when it comes to Halloween, we should all strive to keep the spookiness and hazards away from our cats and dogs. Halloween can be a very confusing event for many of them. Yes, there are some adorable pet costumes for you (and perhaps them) to enjoy, but from endlessly opening the door for trick-or-treaters, to all that candy lying around, to too many Halloween pranksters, there can be some perils as well.

Help remove danger and stress this year by remembering these five easy tips.

Halloween treats are not for pets.
Dogs, especially puppies, are infamous for eating everything they are not supposed to. Because of the caffeine, all forms of chocolate are poisonous to dogs and cats. Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are especially toxic. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include diarrhea, rapid breathing, vomiting, and increased heart rate. Halloween candies that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be lethal to dogs. Plus, refined sugars are just not good for any animal.

Keep pets indoors.
As disgusting as it is, vicious pranksters are known to harass, steal, harm and even kill pets on Halloween night, especially black cats. You can prevent it by keeping your pet indoors on Halloween night. If unable to do that, stay alert to what is going on in your own yard.

Keep your inside pets secure.
Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will wear very unusual costumes, have their faces covered, and noisily jostle each other in order to get closer to the candy. As you open the door, youngsters may loudly yell  — Trick or Treat! A yelling stranger with no discernible face can be scary for our furry friends! Dogs who are territorial may become anxious and become aggressive toward innocent trick-or-treaters. By placing your pets in a safe, secure room away from the front door, you will be protecting both the kids and your pet. Plus, you’ll be preventing your animal from sprinting outside into the night.

Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.
Pets run the risk of burning themselves or even knocking the candle over and causing a fire if they get too close to the lit candle. Instead, you can use flashlights or battery operated tea-light candles to bring a glow to your jack-o-lanterns.

Consider your pets’ feelings about their costumes.
If you do decide that your companion needs a costume, make sure it isn’t irritating or dangerous. It should not restrict movement, hearing, breathing, or the ability to bark or meow. Pay attention if your pet is scratching vigorously, as it might be allergic to the material. If your pet acts like he or she would rather eat the costume than wear it, perhaps you should reconsider. Always keep your costumed pet under close supervision to prevent choking or suffocation.

One last word of advice: Keeping up-to-date identification on your pet could increase the chances that they will be returned if they should escape and run off in a panic. Microchips are useful, especially for cats, and most shelters and vets now have scanners.

For more tips, go to PetMD.com. How do you keep your pets safe on Halloween?


Who is Holly Lewitas?

Holly Lewitas is the author of the Spunky Murder Mystery Series — cozy mysteries for dog and cat lovers. Books include: The Nose KnowsThe Nose Sees All and An Army of Noses. You are invited to connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest.


Photo: “Jack-o’-Lanterns” by William Warby is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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