Treat Your Pets Right at Hallowween
One of the joys of being a pet parent is getting to celebrate the holidays with your furry friend. Halloween offers lots of opportunities to treat you and your pet to spooky fun, provided you practice common sense precautions. Young-Williams Animal Center encourages pet owners to be aware of potential hazards and to follow these safety tips:
- Give pet treats only—Do not allow your pet to eat Halloween candy and other treats meant for humans. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. (Note that it’s not just the candy itself that’s harmful to pets, either. Candy wrappers and lollipop sticks if eaten can lead to digestive issues or other problems.)
- Take caution with holiday décor—A carved pumpkin is a Halloween staple, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames. Electrical pumpkins and other corded decorations also can be dangerous. When decorating your house, keep all electrical cords and wires out of your pet’s reach.
- Keep pet costumes conservative— Nowadays there are plenty of adorable costumes for your pet, but you’ll need to take extra care when choosing one. Not all pets enjoy dress-up. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. Dressing up may be a big part of the holiday, but nothing should be more important than your dog’s comfort and safety. If your pet seems distressed in a costume, try something simple like a festive bandana or leash sleeve. Check the costume for potential hazards, making sure that it:
- DOES NOT constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow.
- DOES NOT have small buttons, dangling gear or other easily chewed-off pieces that could choke a pet if eaten.
- DOES NOT get twisted or tangled upon movement that could cause the pet to stumble or trip, leading to injury.
- DOES NOT obstruct your pet’s movement when it’s potty time.
- Watch open doors—When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t slip out the door. Consider keeping Fido in a separate room during trick-or-treating hours, especially if the pet is scared by the noise and commotion of door dashing trick-or-treaters.
- Be prepared—Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you.