Halloween Pet Safety Tips for Dog and Cat Families in Schertz, TX
Whether you’re anxious about Halloween this year or confident that everything is going to go smoothly, it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory and review some helpful tips from our team. Instead of having to worry about your pet swallowing a handful of hard candies or getting tangled up in twinkle lights, you can be confident that you’ve done your part to pet-proof your home without taking all the fun out of it. Your pet deserves to enjoy the holiday too, in their own way, and to stay happy, healthy, and out of the emergency room.
It’s common knowledge that Halloween sweets should be off limits to dogs and cats, but all it takes is a little bit of carelessness for them to find and gobble up a bunch of fun-sized Hershey bars.
No candy is good for your pet, but these in particular can be quite dangerous:
- Sugar-free candy, baked treats, and gum: Many sugar-free sweets are made with a sugar substitute called xylitol. If ingested, xylitol can potentially be deadly for dogs and cats. Because it’s not always easy to tell which candies are sugar-free and which ones aren’t, it’s important to keep all candies, cookies, gum, and other treats well out of your pet’s reach.
- Chocolate: You likely already know about the dangers of chocolate for dogs, but it bears repeating. Any chocolate can be unsafe for pets, and the higher the amount of cocoa, the more dangerous it is. Chocolate, especially chocolate that is high in cocoa content, contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause irregularities in your pet’s heartbeat, muscle tremors, and possibly even seizures.
- Hard candy: In addition to possibly causing stomach upset, hard candies can lodge in the throat and cause choking in pets.
- Grapes and raisins: Ingestion of grapes or raisins can have severe consequences for pets, including vomiting and diarrhea (which may occur within 6 to 12 hours of ingestion), lethargy, stomach pain, tremors, and dehydration. The biggest concern, however, is kidney failure, which can be deadly.
- Candy wrappers and sticks: While obviously not treats themselves, the sticks and wrappers that come with many candies can cause choking if they are swallowed. There is also the risk of an intestinal blockage, which, in a more serious situation, may need to be surgically removed. Any debris leftover from candies and other packaged goods should be thrown away immediately.
Decorations and Costumes
Sweets aren’t the only potential threat to your pet on Halloween. Be careful about how you decorate your home, and which costumes you choose!
- Candles: Never keep an open flame where your pet can reach it or potentially knock it over. In fact, we’d recommend against using any candles altogether, for obvious reasons. It’s all too easy for an unknowing pet to brush past a candle or accidentally bump into the table and knock it over. Protect your pet and your home with artificial candles and lanterns instead.
- Electrical cords: Strands of lights are quite a bit safer than candles, but they should be placed out of your pet’s way and at the very least have protective covers over the exposed cord so your pet doesn’t feel tempted to chew on it.
- Fake spiderweb: While your pet may not go out of their way to snack on fake spiderweb, it can be a choking hazard. We also advise against using this stuff on the outside of your home, because it could potentially harm birds, owls, and other wildlife.
- Window decals: Anything small, plastic, and easy to swallow is a risk to pets. Sometimes decals can curl back on their own and fall off windows and mirrors, and if they’re lying on the floor, your pet might think they’re fair game.
- Pet costumes: Not all pets enjoy being dressed up in costumes, and even for those that do, you need to make sure it’s not constricting your pet’s ability to move or breathe comfortably. The costume also shouldn’t have parts that are easy to swallow if they detach, or parts that can snag on things around your house. And if your pet obviously hates their costume, don’t force them to wear it.
- Human costumes: If you and/or your kids plan to dress up this year, make sure there aren’t any small detachable costume pieces (buttons, strings, etc.) that can pose a choking hazard to your pet. It’s also important not to frighten your pet–some dogs and cats can’t recognize their owners when they’re in costume, and this can be very stressful for them.
- Potpourri and scented oils: Many scented oils and potpourris can be very toxic to pets. Pieces of potpourri might be tempting for your dog or cat to lick or ingest, and this can make them sick. Also, some scents can be very strong and irritating to your pet. Use scents sparingly and
Keep Your Pet Indoors on Halloween
Finally, we recommend that you keep your pet inside as much as possible on Halloween, and have someone to keep an eye on them while you’re answering the door to trick-or-treaters. Lots of dogs and cats have been able to escape thanks to doors being left ajar, and sometimes, they can get lost! Keep your pet’s ID tags up to date, and if possible, get them microchipped and register the chip right away. It’s easier to reunite pets with their families when they have a microchip.
Another reason to keep your pet inside is to protect them against would-be pranksters. Animals have been targeted, and black cats in particular are vulnerable this time of year.