10 Tips for a Safe (and Fun) Halloween With Your Pet
It used to be a novelty to see pets in costume, but it now seems standard for spirited pet owners to include their dogs (and a few cats) in Howl-O-Ween celebrations.
The important thing to remember is to make sure your pet is a happy, willing participant in the festivities and to always keep safety in mind. Once those criteria are met, let the fun begin!
While many pets actually enjoy dressing up and carousing about with their owners, some pets may be frightened, or stressed at best. Here are some ways animal lovers can keep their pets safe this Howl-O-Ween:
- No tricks, no treats. That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies).
- Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset when ingested by pets.
- Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pet. If your pet nibbles on them he could damage his mouth on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a life-threatening electrical shock.
- A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
- Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” wearing a costume can cause undue stress.
- If you do dress up your pet, make sure his costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, see bark or go potty.
- Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could chew and choke on.
- All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
- When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. If your dog gets anxious when the doorbell rings, wait for trick-or-treaters at the front door or on your porch.
- IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can help ensure he is returned to you.