What Do Your Animals Feel About Halloween?
I know you'll see lots of articles in your inbox about Halloween safety. Please read mine, as you'll hear how the animals themselves feel about it!
First and foremost, please do not leave pets outside on Halloween. Vicious pranksters or mean-spirited individuals have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. This has been especially true for black cats. If you have outdoor cats, keep them inside several days before and after Halloween to ensure their safety. If your neighborhood has "Mischief Night," the night before Halloween, DEFINITELY keep dogs and cats inside!
Cats and dogs need to know that your FIRST priority is keeping them safe. Be sure to explain why you're keeping them in. It will help them settle and accept staying indoors.
Keep pets safely confined and away from the door. Your door bell will be ringing, the door will be constantly opening and closing, and strangers young and old, dressed in unusual costumes, will yell, "Trick or Treat". This, of course, is confusing and scary for our furry friends. Dogs may become anxious and growl or even bite innocent trick-or-treaters because they perceive them as threatening. In your dog's mind, he is protecting you and your home from very strange strangers! Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door or in their crate or kennel will help relieve their stress and also prevent them from escaping and getting lost. Remember to put Rescue Remedy in the water bowl, starting a day or two before.
Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Cooked, mashed pumpkin can be a digestive aid, but raw pumpkin won't be helpful.
Don't keep lit pumpkins and candles around pets. Pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire. Curious kittens run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames. Get the battery powered candles or festive tea lights. Added benefit: They won't drip wax, blow out or burn down to damage surfaces.
Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach. If chewed on, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock. This should be true of any day not just on holidays. Decorations, scary sound tracks, fog machines will also threaten your dogs and cats. If you MUST have these for the kids, perhaps sending your dog or cat to a familiar friend's peaceful house, or to Grandma's, would be best for them.
Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets. Let's face it, dogs are going to be interested in some Halloween candies. If you have a puppy or "food hound," they will try to get a taste. Be sure you keep the bowl high up or in a cupboard. Never leave it unattended.
All forms of chocolate-especially baking or dark chocolate-can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Lollipops and their sticks can be choking hazards and cause a painful obstruction or foreign body ingestion that may require surgery to remove. Candies wrapped in plastic and other types of wrapping can also lead to chocking or cause an obstruction and upset stomach.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian, local emergency vet clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Pet Costumes I just read that Americans are projected to spend $380 MILLION on pet costumes this year! (Mostly because they want to post pics of their animals in costume on social media) Please resist the urge to dress up your pet. It might look cute to you, but in reality, it could be annoying, uncomfortable and unsafe for your companion. If a dog or cat really loves dressing up in something simple, like a special collar or bandana, okay. But ask yourself, is it respectful to your wise, loving companion to dress them in a costume? Many find it humiliating. They will tolerate it for your sake, but I invite you to think about why you would ask that of them.
If I haven't talked you out of it, and you "must" dress up your pet for your sake, make sure the costume does not constrict their movement or hearing, or impede their ability to breathe, bark or meow. Never leave a pet unattended while wearing a costume. Small parts can become chewed and swallowed, leading to foreign body ingestion/blockage which can be life threatening. How is that worth the risk?
ID your pets. 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 reunited with you.
These safety essentials are courtesy of Kimberly Jackson of "A to Z Petcare" in Lafayette, CO. They were so excellent, I had to just copy and send them to you, with a few of my own additions, expressing the animal's points of view (as well as some of my own). Thank you, Kimberly!
Observing these essentials will help two and four-footeds have a SAFE and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!