Halloween Hazards for Your Furry Friends
Halloween is fast approaching with all its attendant delights, treats, and scares. There are a number of things we can do to enjoy this holiday while keeping our pets safe.
Most of us are familiar with the fact that chocolate is hazardous for both dogs and cats, but that isn’t the only thing in your treat bag you need to keep away from them. Many peanut butters, gums, and sugar free candies are sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic and can cause precipitous drops in blood sugar, among other issues. And don’t even think of passing off those raisins that you didn’t want. They can cause acute kidney failure in both dogs and cats. The bags or pails themselves can also be a hazard. Some pets will get caught in them and can get scared or risk strangulation. And some will ingest the bags, leading to possible foreign body obstructions. Best to get your furry friend their own treats and make sure to keep all of yours well away from them.
Be sure to keep your pets inside. All pets, but particularly black cats, are at risk for cruel “pranks” on this day. It is unfortunate and hard for many of us to believe, but it does happen. Also darker colored pets are at greater risk of getting run over on a night when many are out and about. The best option is to keep them indoors. However, even indoors there are things to watch out for. Be careful with all decorations, especially open flames, food items (jack o’lanterns and corn), and webbing. Make sure to keep these elevated and away from where an excited or nervous pet might get caught in them, eat them, or knock them over. Anything that isn’t a normal part of their environment can be a potential hazard, including wires and cords. Keep your pet in mind when planning your decor.
If you dress your pet up, there are a number of things that you should be wary of. First, give your pet time to adjust to the costume in advance. If it’s making them unhappy, don’t do it. Make sure all parts of the costume fit properly, nothing can be chewed off, and that it doesn’t interfere with their normal movement. Never leave your pet unattended in their costume, and make costume sessions brief. Get a few quick photos or walk them through their local pet supply store for a treat, then remove the costume and put it away.
If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of trick-or-treaters, or even if you don’t but know your pet is sensitive to unfamiliar people or sounds, it is best to keep them somewhere safe and away from the front door. Strangers, especially small ones, can quickly overwhelm nervous pets, and the constant opening and closing of the door provides a lot of escape opportunities. Give your pet a safe space, similar to what you might offer on the 4th of July or New Year’s. Keep a comfortable bed in there, a blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you, a white noise machine, and plenty of water. Canna Companion can also help support your pet on this stressful day.
Lastly, ensure your pet has identification (even multiple forms if possible). That way, if they do get out, they are more likely to find their way back to you. Double check their tag has your current contact information at least 2 weeks prior to the holiday so you can update it if you need to. If they are microchipped, it is also very important to check and make sure the information connected with that microchip is correct and up to date.
A few simple precautions can help ensure a Happy Halloween for the entire family!