Halloween is a time for dressing up, indulging in candy and having fun! However, for our furry family members, it can be a scary and potentially dangerous affair. We have compiled the Top 5 Spooktacular Tips to keep your furry friend(s) safe.
In the modern day and age of cute internet and social media images, posts and tweets; the internet has us believing that pets and costumes go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, this might not be the case for your particular pet. What we, as owners, think is boo-tiful may just be plain miserable to our beloved pets. It’s best to keep a few key tips in mind if you’re dressing your pet up this year.
If your pet has never worn a costume or it is a new costume- it can frighten or irritate some pets. The holiday festivities are already overwhelming and pets are at a heightened sense of awareness due to the change in their environments. Make sure that you keep an eye on your pet’s demeanor and remove him/her before he becomes too overwhelmed or excited.
Sometimes elastics and certain fabrics are too tight. These can potentially cause an area to swell, reduce circulation and cause pain. Keep all fabrics loose and breathable. Also bear in mind the heat factor when dressing your pet up. This is Florida after all!
The long tails, feathers, wings and others pieces of a costume sometimes can cause tripping hazards for the pet, owner or other trick-or-treaters. Be mindful of your pets costume to avoid any injuries.
Paints should not be used directly on pets. Ensure anything you put directly on your pet is non-toxic and safe.
Some pets will try to eat parts of their costumes, so watch your pets diligently while they are dressed up. Avoid using anything edible in the costume as this will likely end up in their mouth!
If the costume involves a mask, make sure your pet’s vision is unrestricted and that your pet can safely navigate with or without your direct guidance.
When it is time to take your dog out trick-or-treating with your family, consider using reflective gear and always ensure they are leashed. Remember that other dogs and children are overflowing with excitement and this change in energy can be off-putting to your pet. Keep your dog safe from sudden movements from children and be conscientious of other dogs. All of the adorable and often spooky masks, large hats and/or costumes can set off territorial instincts or fearful responses in a dog. These responses can result in unprovoked bites, please be cautious.
The best rule of thumb is to keep your pet away from all Halloween candy. Poisoning is a common problem on Halloween. Luckily, most cats are not interested in candy but dogs can’t seem to eat enough of it & quickly at that! Most people know that chocolate can be toxic to pets, even in small amounts. Other candy sweetened with xylitol can cause a life threatening drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) if ingested by a pet. This is a medical emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention and treatment. Some pets can get an upset stomach (vomiting and diarrhea) just from eating a single piece of candy, as this is not part of their regular diet. The actual candy isn’t the only problem either. Lollipop sticks and foil wrappers can cause blockages in the intestinal tract; this too can result in becoming a medical emergency.
Candles and jack-o’-lanterns are a fire hazard whether you have pets or not. Dogs and cats may knock over burning candles, or due to their curious nature may go ahead and stick their faces into a jack-o’-lantern without understanding the repercussions. Other decorations, such as fake cobwebs and anything that dangles could create a choking hazard. Anything resembling string can be tempting to cats. If ingested this can quickly lead to an intestinal obstruction.
Black cats, especially, are at a higher risk from human cruelty on Halloween. Consider keeping your cats in an interior room where they are unable to jet out of the door. It is also recommended that you keep them inside for a few days before and after Halloween to ensure their safety.
If you plan to partake in Halloween festivities it would be in the best interest of your furry family member to ensure that their microchip is currently up-to-date. Below are contact numbers for some of the most popular microchipping companies out there (in no specific order), in case you need to update your contact information.
24 PetWatch: 1-866-597-2424
If you believe your pet is suffering from a medical emergency do not hesitate to bring him/her to the closest emergency veterinarian to you. If your pet ingests any candy, toxins or medications you can also contact the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680 while en-route to the ER.
We wish you and your family a safe and Spooktacular Halloween!
Kristi & the Doctors and Staff of AEC St Petersburg