Whether you are more interested in visiting haunted houses, or competing in costume competitions, Halloween can be a fun and exciting time. However, the holiday can present potential dangers for your pet. Our team at Leland Veterinary Clinic wants to offer advice, to keep your pet safe this Halloween.

Trick your pet to stay home

Unfortunately, Halloween can bring out the worst in some people, and pets, especially black cats, are frequently targeted during the evening. Keep your pet safe by keeping them at home. If you are having a party at your house, create a safe place for them to relax in an interior room, with their favorite bedding, toys, and fresh water, to ensure they will feel comfortable. You can also keep music or the television playing, to help drown out any loud party goers. Offer a food puzzle toy to keep their mind engaged, and check on them frequently, to ensure they aren’t becoming anxious.

Treat your pet by getting them microchipped

If your pet does manage to evade your attempts to corral them, they can easily panic when they see moving Halloween decorations and children dressed as vampires and zombies. Microchipping your pet is your best chance for having them returned. We can perform this routine procedure during your pet’s next wellness exam, so they have permanent identification. They should also wear a collar and identification tags with your current contact information. These methods will help your neighbors know where your lost pet belongs.

Trick your pet to avoid Halloween decorations

Decorating for Halloween is great fun, but several common enhancements can be hazardous to your pet. Decorations to avoid include:

  • Candles — Whether inside a jack o’-lantern or on a countertop, candles can easily be knocked over when your pet investigates the new decor. If you light candles, ensure they are not accessible to your pet, or your pet’s tail.
  • Novelty items — Gory eyeballs, scary spiders, and vampire teeth are great Halloween party decorations, but your pet can easily swallow these items. This can result in gastrointestinal obstruction, which frequently requires surgery to remedy.
  • Animated decor — Flashing lights, screaming ghosts, and moving goblins can overwhelm your pet, frightening them, and causing stress.
  • Dry ice — If you want to create a creepy milieu, dry ice is the perfect solution. However, if your curious pet investigates too closely, their skin can be damaged.

Treat your pet by not letting them raid the trick-or-treat bag

Candy is not a good treat for your pet, because small pieces can cause them to choke, and the foil and plastic wrappers can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction. Other treats in the candy jar to avoid include:

  • Sugar-free candy and gum — Xylitol is a common ingredient in many sugar-free products, and this substance causes pets to release insulin, resulting in a profound drop in blood sugar levels. These pets exhibit signs including weakness, incoordination, and seizures.
  • Chocolate — The caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are toxic for pets. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most dangerous products, but all chocolate causes problems for pets. The toxins stimulate the pet’s nervous system, cause strengthened skeletal and cardiac muscle contractions, and cause an increase in circulating epinephrine. These pets exhibit signs including restlessness, increased urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Raisins — Unfortunately, someone always hands out raisins on Halloween. Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxin that causes kidney failure in pets. These pets exhibit signs including lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Trick your pet to enjoy wearing a costume

If you’ve found the perfect costume for your pet, do not wait until Halloween night to try out the outfit. Start a few days to a few weeks in advance, and let your pet wear the costume for short periods at first, gradually working up to longer periods over several days. Other factors to consider include:

  • Does the costume fit appropriately?
  • Does the costume inhibit your pet’s vision, hearing, breathing, or movement?
  • Does the costume have any loose pieces that could become a choking hazard, or cause your pet to trip?

Treat your pet by not allowing them to raid the party food

A radical change in your pet’s diet could cause gastrointestinal upset, and some common party foods are toxic to your pet. These include: 

  • Onions — Onions, and other members of the Allium family, including garlic, leeks, and chives, contain disulfides and thiosulphates, which are toxic to pets. They cause the red blood cells to easily break down, resulting in anemia. These pets initially exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, but signs can progress to pale mucous membranes, weakness, and blood in the urine.
  • Pumpkin spice goodies — While canned, cooked pumpkin is a great treat for pets when given alone, spices used to make pumpkin spice treats can be harmful to your pet. Cinnamon is irritating to your pet’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract, and nutmeg contains myristicin, which causes disorientation, stomach pain, and seizures in pets.

Keep your pet safe by following this trick-or-treating advice. However, if your pet has an unfortunate Halloween encounter, or you are concerned about something they ate, do not hesitate to contact our team at Leland Veterinary Clinic. We can help ensure they are safe from the boogey man.