This article was originally featured on Woman Around Town on Sunday, October 14th, 2012
Halloween is a time for ghosts and goblins, witches and skeletons, trick or treat, parties, and visitors. Make sure that you keep your pets safe during the October 31st festivities. Here are a few tips:
1. Trick or treat candy is great for your children, but those sweets are not great for your pets. Chocolate of any kind, especially dark chocolate, is toxic for your dogs and cats. Certain candy with substitute sugar such as xylitol is also toxic. So please keep all candy and chocolate away from your pets. They may think it is a treat but it will only be a trick to real trouble and will warrant a visit to your veterinarian and can even be deadly.
2. Candy wrappers can cause problems, too. When swallowed, pieces of paper and foil may cause an obstruction in your pet’s intestines. Make sure all packaging is placed in the garbage well away from your pets.
3. Dressing up can be fun for your children, but can be very stressful for your pet. Some pets do love to be in costume (and they can be really cute) but there are many cats and dogs who will exhibit signs of stress. If that’s the case, maybe a good old bandana would do for your pet’s costume.
If you are going to put a costume on your pet (only if they tolerate it), then make sure the costume is safe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing or impede his or her ability to breathe, bark, or meow. Make sure there aren’t any small pieces that they can chew, choke on, or swallow.
4. Ding dong… trick or treat… ding dong… trick or treat… ding dong… trick or treat. Many people coming at your door can be stressful and scary and may cause mayhem. Keep your pet in a separate room away from the front door during those peak hours. Doing so is also safer, preventing a pet from running out the door. If your pet does escape, a collar with your name and contact information and even a microchip can help locate your pet and ensure a safe return.
5. Halloween candles in pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns may look cool and spooky, but it may cause problems for you and your pet. Your dog can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Little kittens can be curious and can get burned or singed. Be careful where you put your candles.