Halloween may be the scariest night of the year, but keeping your pets safe doesn’t have to be tricky.
The ASPCA recommends the following precautions to keep your pets happy and healthy:
- Ditch the (Human) Treats
Don’t expose your pets to the candy bowl as several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. “Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs, and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems in pets,” reports the ASPCA. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
- Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach
Pets can knock over a lit pumpkin jack-o-lantern and start a fire. Kittens are at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered relatively nontoxic, but can produce stomach discomfort in pets who nibble on them.
- Be Careful with Costumes
For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.
- Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors arriving at the door, and too many strangers can often be scary and stressful for pets. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. And always make sure your pet it wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.