Keeping your pets safe at Halloween
Halloween, although fun for children and families, can be a hazardous and unsafe time for pets. Follow our top tips for keeping your pets safe at Halloween to avoid and alleviate any problems during this time of the year.
- Trick-or-treat chocolate is not for dogs
All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Halloween chocolate and sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include:
- excessive drooling
- excessive urination
- pupil dilation
- vomiting, diarrhoea
- rapid breathing
- increased heart rate
- Hyperactivity and seizures
* If you notice these symptoms of chocolate poisoning, go to your vet or an emergency vet right away because your pet’s life may be in danger
- Do not leave your dog or cat outside in the garden
Eggs, candy and other materials may be thrown at this time of year, and subsequently eaten by your pet. They could also sadly be subject to abuse, teasing or injury. Pranksters may leave gates open and nervous, scared dogs may escape into the road.
- Keep your dog away from the door
Your door will be constantly being opened to strangers calling who are dressed in unusual costumes, which is of course could be very scary for your pet. Dogs are territorial and protective of their home environment, they may become anxious and growl or even bite innocent trick-or-treaters. Provide a safe space with chew toys, a favourite blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, music or tv turned on or anything else that will comfort and reassure your dog.
- Keep pumpkins out of reach
Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets. Should your pet get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking the pumpkin over causing a fire. Also although they are relatively nontoxic they can induce gastrointestinal upset should your dog eat them in large quantities.
- Halloween pet costumes
If you do decide that your dog needs a costume, make sure it is safe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark. Try on pet costumes before the big night. If they do not like it or seem distressed, allergic, or show any abnormal behaviour, consider letting them go “au natural”!
Please ensure that you pets have up to date identification in case they should escape or become lost. By having proper identification it will increase the chances that they will be safely returned.
- Walk your dog before trick-or-treaters start calling
Remember to keep a firm grip on the lead; many dogs are frightened by strange people in costumes. When walking dogs during or after Halloween watch carefully for what they might pick up and choke on as bits of candy and wrappers are often left lying on the ground.
- Do not leave dogs unattended in cars
There will strangers walking about in costume who may also knock on the vehicle or tease the dog which will cause great deal of anxiety and distress to your dog.
Try to foresee any potential hazards on Halloween and prepare for them. Particular areas of concern are things that dogs might eat, interactions between dogs and children and the general level of excitement or fear, which might create opportunities for escape or promote irritable behaviour. Remember that dogs don’t grasp that Halloween is a holiday, and they may find throngs of loud, raucous, peculiarly-costumed children genuinely frightening and traumatic.