It is that time of year again! Halloween is finally here, and it can be such a festive and fun time for all. However, let’s face it, for our furry companions it can also be quite the nightmare. But it does not have to be this way! Here are a few easy to follow safety tips:
- Trick-or-treat candy may be yummy to us, but it is not made for pets! All forms of chocolate, but especially dark chocolate, can be dangerous, and even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Foods that contain the artificial sweetener Xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of this substance can lead to a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.
- You should also keep Halloween decorations such as pumpkins and corn stalks out of their reach. Although they are considered nontoxic, such plants can induce quite the gastrointestinal upset, should they be ingested in large quantities. An intestinal blockage is no laughing matter! Speaking of pumpkins…you really shouldn’t keep lit pumpkins around pets! If they get too close to an open flame, they may run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over, causing a house fire. If you must have some sort of flickering light, consider a flameless candle or miniature flashlights.
- If your furry children are not perfectly reliable, you should probably keep them away from the door. Not only will your door be continually opened, closed and opened again, but strangers will be dressed in bizarre costumes, yelling loudly for their sweets. This can be a very scary situation for some of our furry friends. If you feel that your pet may be a bit on the nervous side, it might be a good idea to put your dog or cat in a room away from the front door. This will also prevent them from darting out the door as soon as it opens.
- Please ensure that your pet has proper ID! If your dog or cat should escape despite your best efforts, proper identification will increase their chances of returning home safely. Up-to-date information is essential, even if your pet has not been micro-chipped.
- Unless you know for a fact that your dog or cat is comfortable getting dressed up, you should refrain from doing so. If you do decide that your furry child needs a costume, please ensure it is not a nuisance or unsafe, and that it does not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe. It is also a good idea to try on the costumes before the big night. If your furry friend seems distressed, allergic, or behaves in an out-of-character manner, perhaps you should consider a festive bandana instead.
Wishing everyone and their furry companions a Happy Howl-A-Ween!
Piper is the author of several non-fiction books, and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads and Google+.