Halloween is right around the corner, and although this year’s festivities will be a bit different than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic, some hazards remain for your furry pal. Like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Halloween has its fair share of spooky situations that can ensnare your pet, but proper precautions can avoid emergencies. Before Halloween arrives, brush up on ways to keep your four-legged friend safe by avoiding the following terrifying incidents.
#1: Pets and costume malfunctions
Dressing your cat in a lion costume or your Chihuahua in a shark outfit is undeniably adorable, but your pet may not agree. Some pets may not tolerate costumes, much preferring their birthday suits or a simple jack-o-lantern-themed bandana to flashy Halloween costumes. But, if your pet is amenable to being decked out in a goofy, cute, or scary costume, follow these tips to avoid costume malfunctions:
- Check the fit — Unless your goal is to make your dog look like a sausage, avoid stuffing your large Labrador into a costume meant for a Yorkie. A too-tight costume can create serious issues for your pet by restricting their vision, breathing, or circulation. Always choose a costume that is your pet’s size and will not slip or bunch up and cause problems.
- Remove chewable pieces — Dangling ribbons, ties, and straps are like tempting chew toys for pets, as are buttons and zippers. If your pet is prone to gnawing on anything in reach, an extravagant costume may be a poor choice. Stick to a simpler design without excess frills.
- Monitor your pet — When your furry pal is geared up for the holiday in their snazzy outfit, keep a close eye on them as they run, jump, and play. Costumes can occasionally slip and slide, obstructing your pet’s eyes, nose, and mouth, which can rapidly create a serious problem.
#2: Candy binges are bad for pets
Sweet treats, rich chocolates, and also healthier options pose a threat to your pet. Chocolate, sugar-free candies and gums, trail mix with raisins, and small toys can lead to toxicity or intestinal obstruction. No matter how adorable your fluffy friend looks in their entertaining costume, resist their trick-or-treat begging. Keep your children’s big haul of candy—and yours—out of reach of questing noses, and ensure all wrappers are picked up and disposed of appropriately.
#3: Decoration disasters and pets
Sticky spider webs, glow sticks, pumpkins, corn, and other assorted spooky decorations can be hazardous to your pet’s health if eaten. While not necessarily toxic, Halloween decorations can cause stomach upset, irritated mucous membranes, agitation, drooling, and occasionally vomiting. Eating pumpkins, corn stalks, and plants from fall displays can create a gastrointestinal obstruction requiring emergency surgery, and may cause neurologic problems if anything is moldy.
#4: Pet escape artists
Whether you’re swarmed by trick-or-treaters or hosting the most terrifying block party, your front door will likely be open much of the evening. With the chaos surrounding the open door, your pet may see the perfect opportunity to bolt into the night in search of Halloween mischief. Whether or not your speedy pal is safely confined in a kennel or bedroom for the festivities, ensure they are appropriately identified. Before Halloween rolls around, schedule a quick appointment for a microchip implant, or to check your pet’s chip. Update your pet’s collar ID tags to ensure the correct phone number is listed, and check that the microchip registration company has your most current phone number on file.
#5: Electrifying emergencies in pets
Flickering candles and lights are an eerie Halloween necessity, but can also entice a curious pet too close. A sniff of a candle inside a jack-o-lantern or on a table display can singe whiskers or a nose, or be knocked over and cause a house fire. Electrical cords and battery-operated candles can also be hazardous to your pet’s health, because the cords can lead to a life-threatening electrical shock or burn, while batteries can cause chemical burns if chewed open, or an intestinal obstruction if swallowed whole. When planning your decorative displays, keep all lighted objects well out of your four-legged friend’s reach.