Halloween is usually known for fun, jack-o-lanterns, and happy trick-or-treaters. But many people don’t know that it is actually one of the most dangerous evenings for pets. In this article, you will learn the common threats that pets face during Halloween. You will also learn easy ways to prevent these threats from harming your pet, so that you can just relax and enjoy the holiday. And one important note before we begin: multiple threats that we discuss in this article involve losing your pet, so if your dog or cat is not already microchipped, please give us a call now. It’s a quick, affordable and painless procedure.
We probably don’t need to tell you that candy is bad for pets. But on Halloween, it’s necessary to take extra safety measures with your pets because candy is usually so plentiful. Candy can cause severe problems (like heart disturbances) and can even be fatal. Even the wrappers can be harmful when ingested, as they can obstruct your pet’s digestive system. It is very important to be proactive and make sure that any candy is stored in places that your dog or cat is unable to access – like cabinets or a locked pantry. Also, make sure children know never to share candy with pets.
The above chart illustrates dangerous levels of chocolate consumption for pets. As you can see, dark and baking chocolate is especially dangerous. Some types of Halloween candy also contain the artificial sweetener “xylitol” which can cause severe harm in dogs. Even small amounts can cause sudden drops in blood sugar, which can result in seizures.
Chocolate poisoning symptoms to look out for include:
- Rapid Breathing
- Rapid Heart Rate
If you notice your pet showing any of these symptoms, please contact us right away. If we are closed, you can contact the Pet Poision Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
Sadly, there is a significant spike in animal cruelty cases around Halloween. Some people tease, steal, injure, or even kill pets around the Holiday – especially on Halloween night. Black cats are at especially high risk for these terrible crimes. It’s worth noting that many animal shelters and humane societies refuse to adopt out any black cats during October because of this.
Please, keep your pets indoors during Halloween. It may be worth being especially careful during the days before and after too, as the danger is still elevated then.
Doors frequently open on Halloween. There are also a lot of strangers around, exciting or threatening noise, and other stressors. These factors lead to an increase in the number of pets that run away on Halloween night. It’s important to take extra precautions to make sure that your pet can’t escape.
The best advice we can give you is to set your pet up in an enclosed area – either a fully gated living area or their own secured room. The most important thing is to make sure that your pet doesn’t have access to the door used by trick-or-treaters. This is also important because dogs are typically territorial, and even dogs who are usually gentle can growl when they feel strangers are encroaching on their home.
Pet costumes can be adorable, but it can also come at the expense of a pet’s enjoyment or safety. The ASPCA recommends putting your pet in a costume only if they don’t show any signs of anxiety or discomfort when wearing it. You’ll want to allow your pet to try on the costume for a short time before Halloween to verify this. And if you do dress your pet in a costume, it’s very important to make sure they can open and close their mouths easily, and that their breathing or movement isn’t inhibited. We also strongly encourage you to avoid costumes that have dangling parts, as these can be choking hazards.
Jack-O-Lanterns can be knocked over by curious or unsuspecting pets, which is a fire hazard. Kittens are particularly susceptible to burns, as they often want to investigate the glowing object. In addition, pumpkin seeds can cause obstruction to the digestive system in smaller pets. Make sure that pets are never allowed to be unsupervised around lit Jack-O-Lanterns.
Wires and dangling decorations are usually common around Halloween, which ensnare or even strangle pets. Make sure that any such decorations are carefully out of reach of your dog or cat.
On behalf of all of us at Southwest Vet, we wish you and your (two and four-legged!) family a safe and Happy Halloween. And please know that we are always here for you whenever you need us!