Halloween should be a fun time of year with festive treats, clever costumes, and maybe even a few spooky tricks. Unfortunately, all the hustle and bustle that the celebration usually comes with can lead to a few dangerous hazards that can make this time of year less fun and more scary for pets and their people.
To avoid falling victim to a less than spooktacular Halloween, pet parents should first take a second to consider the hazards that might plague their celebration and take steps to avoid or prepare for them. To make this process a little easier, we put together a list of the top 7 hazards around Halloween plus some tips to deal with them.
7 Halloween Hazards for Pets
It’s not Halloween without costumes! But… not all pets like to be dressed up at all and some have their limits. If you do decide to dress your pet up, make sure that they can still move freely and safely. Yes, they are super cute dressed as a pumpkin, but it’s most important that they are comfortable. If they show signs of distress, pass on the costume and just let them go au naturel.
When picking a costume, also keep in mind that you want to avoid any small parts that can be easily chewed off or swallowed. You won’t want to pay the vet bill for the consequences of that! It’s also good to avoid costumes that require having something around the neck to avoid any choking risks, especially if your pet will be left unattended while in costume for any amount of time.
Generally, I only put my pets in costume for photos and for special events where I will keep a constant eye on them. I know that’s not always possible for some, but keep that in mind when doing your costume shopping (or creating).
Halloween decor is fun for us, but keep in mind that your pet may not understand or enjoy it. When you decorate, you are changing your pet’s environment and Halloween decorations especially (skeletons, mummies, vampires, etc.) may be too scary for pets. Keep an eye out for any sides of stress and also keep your decorations up and out of reach. If your pet can’t reach it, then they can’t eat it (unless they are this crafty chicken nugget loving beagle).
Also, keep in mind what you are decorating with. Glow sticks are common for Halloween, but they can be harmful if ingested. If you or your kids are using them, make sure they don’t get dropped on the floor or left someone where a curious mouth can get a hold of them
It’s also not Halloween without candy! Oh I miss getting my haul while trick-or-treating as a kid. It’s perfectly fine (and kind of encouraged) to spoil your pet with a special holiday treat, but just make sure it is pet safe! There are tons of pet bakeries out there who make custom treats for all holidays.
Whether you have children who luck into a ton of candy or you just go buy some for yourself, keep it out of reach of your pets! You don’t want them to get their paws on these. Candy that contains Xylitol should be especially avoided, but no matter what it is your pet won’t be happy and neither will your wallet (thanks to vet bills) if they get into the candy stash.
Generally, dogs don’t bother with taking off wrappers before they eat something. Maybe it’s the lack or opposable thumbs. Maybe it’s the lack of self-restraint. Either way this is another reason to keep candy out of reach. If your dog ingests foil or cellophane wrappers it could be life-threatening! A bowel obstruction from these small items can require surgery to fix.
Where there’s candy, there’s usually chocolate. If you don’t know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs by now, then go ahead an take a moment to internalize it. Dogs can’t eat chocolate! Food poisoning in pets is 32% more likely during Halloween week and chocolate is the top cause.
It will not be a fun time if your dog gets into your Hershey’s bars or Reese’s pumpkins. Keep them in a cabinet, up high, or anywhere else your dog doesn’t have access. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have a high vet bill and get to enjoy a tasty treat. Also, don’t forget if you throw any chocolate or candy away. Make sure the trash can is out of reach and impenetrable.
With the popularization of LED lights, candles have become a little less popular around Halloween, but they are still out there. If you choose to light a candle, put it up high and away from curious pets. Your pet will likely not realize that it’s hot until it’s too late. Plus, wagging tails and dogs who get the zoomies have a tendency to knock things over.
Trick or Treat
In many communities, trick-or-treating is a popular Halloween activity. While it is all tricks and treats for participating children, it my cause some unnecessary anxiety in pets. Trick-or-treaters mean that the doorbell will frequently ring and the door will constantly be opened.
To prevent your dog from getting spooked and running out an open door, keep him or her restrained or contained. Consider putting them in a room or part of your home that you can close or fence off. If that’s not possible, put their leash and harness on so you have easier control if your pup gets too scared. We always have our Alcott leashes and Sleepypod harnesses right by the front door for this reason!
One option to help reduce this stress is to sit outside on your porch or driveway to greet the trick-or-treaters as they arrive, while keeping your pets inside. Then there won’t be an incessant amount of door bell ringing and your pets won’t be at risk for escaping out an open door.
Tips to Help Guarantee Your Pets Safety
No matter what your Halloween plans are this year, make sure that your dog has a safe place to stay and rest during any kind of commotion. Keep in mind that they may not like all the loud noises and may be bothered by the constant door bell ringing from trick-or-treaters.
Make sure the room is escape proof, so even if they do end up getting a little scared there’s no risk for them getting out or worse… lost. Provide comfortable and familiar items like their favorite bed or blanket and few toys they love.
Don’t forget to put make plenty of water available as well. Try a spill resistant bowl to avoid a mess and your dog running out of water too quickly. Our favorite option is the Yummy Travel Bowl from Sleepypod.
Update ID Tags & Microchip
I almost always say this in any kind of safety related post I do, but that’s because it is so important. If your pet has out of date information on their microchip and/or dog tag, then they don’t really serve much purpose. In most cases, it is super easy to update your information connected to a pet’s microchip, so go do it!
For an ID tag, I recommend getting your dog’s name, your name, and a method of contact that won’t change very often. Nowadays most people don’t have to change their cell phone number even when they move, so it’s a good option. An email address is another one to consider. I also believe in spending a little extra on a quality dog tag that won’t rust, break, or otherwise become useless. Right now I’m loving the Pendants from Sleepypod.
Want some pet friendly Halloween Fun? Check out our Trick or Treat Giveaway Hop and enter to win OVER $850 in prizes!
Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about the Sleepypod. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.
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