Halloween is right around the corner and with pets playing such a significant role in our lives, you know they are going to be part of the festivities. So if you’re looking forward to enjoying a safe and fun Halloween, this article will provide you with pet costume safety tips, Halloween tips for dogs and cats, and a list of candy that’s dangerous to your pets.
3 Essential Tips for Safe Pet Costumes
Some outgoing, confident pets happily and effortlessly wear Halloween costumes. They seem to love the attention they garner from it. Other pets that are more apprehensive and unsure do their best to communicate that they want no part of donning any clothing.
It’s important to take the time to heed your pet’s body cues on wearing outfits. Nix the notion if you put a costume on your dog or cat and they pace, pant excessively, paw or claw at the costume, or sit or lie down and refuse to move. Forcing the costumes on them will only cause your pet unneeded stress and anxiety.
If your pet does enjoy wearing hats, coats, and other costume clothing on occasion, heed these safety tips:
- Make sure the outfit allows him to move easily and does not impair his mobility. A pet costume must fit well and remain securely in place. Tight clothing can impair circulation, while an outfit too loose or too big can get tangled and cause your pet to trip while walking.
- Avoid costumes that cover your pet’s face or ears and prevent him from seeing and hearing properly.
- Closely examine the outfit before purchasing to make sure that it does not sport any buttons or other small items that your pet can easily pull out, ingest, and trigger a choking incident.
How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking at the Doorbell on Halloween
Halloween can unleash plenty of stress in even the most even-tempered canines. Think about it from your dog’s perspective. Most nights, no one rings your bell and there isn’t frequent noise coming from outside. Being unable to instinctively understand Halloween, your dog needs you to provide guidance and safety measures. Follow these tips to ensure that he fares well on that one night of the year when your doorbell works overtime.
- If your dog is overly protective of you, growls, or cowers at people wearing hats, sunglasses, or strange outfits, usher him into a quiet room far from the front door. Inside that room, provide your dog with keep-busy toys, water and food, a comfy bed, and then turn on a classical music station to soothe him and muffle the front door trick-or-treat activity.
- If your dog loves greeting people, tether him to you using a waist leash. This will keep your hands free so you can hand out candy while limiting your dog’s movement toward strangers. Tethering your dog also enables you to body block him in case one of your doorbell ringers is accompanied by a dog. Some turf-protective dogs do not take kindly to having a strange dog dare to come to their front door.
- If possible, exercise your dog’s mind and body a few hours before trick-or-treaters arrive. Your goal is to tire out your dog. If you are unable to take your dog on a vigorous walk and then play some fun doggy mental games, consider hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter to be your proxy for that afternoon.
- Keep a bag of your dog’s favorite treats in bite-sized pieces. Only give him a treat when he plops into a sit on cue as you answer the door. By the fourth or fifth Halloween visitor, he will figure out he is rewarded for sitting politely.
How to Keep Your Cat Relaxed on Halloween Night
Unfortunately, most cats do not like all the commotion that accompanies All Hallows’ Eve. Be sure to take some simple precautions to ensure a safe holiday for everyone, including your feline family members.
- Cats are territorial and may get agitated with so many strangers coming to the front door. Since many of these strangers will be wearing costumes, your cat may experience greater anxiety than usual. Consider keeping your cat comfortable in a room away from the front door. Have plenty of toys and treats to keep him busy. If you leave your cat at home while you go trick-or-treating, perhaps you can get a pet sitter to make sure your cat remains calm.
- If your cat is normally allowed to wander outside, you may want to keep your cat indoors on Halloween because there will be a lot of strange sites in the area. If your cat is black, be especially careful to keep your cat inside because statistics have shown that people sometimes harm black cats during Halloween.
- Cats are extremely quick, especially when startled, so make sure that your cat is wearing a collar with updated ID tags. Even if your cat is microchipped, the contact information on his tags will lead to a quicker return home if he escapes.
5 Dangerous Halloween Candy for Pets
Halloween is associated with spooky haunted houses, pet Halloween costumes, and most of all, Halloween candy! Certain types of candy can be toxic to pets.
The following five Halloween candies are dangerous to dogs and cats.
- Candy Corn and other high-sugar candy can cause severe gas and diarrhea. The sugar not only provides a great source of food for gut bacteria to indulge on, but it can also pull water into the colon and cause a bad case of diarrhea.
- Chocolate-Covered Raisins combine two potentially deadly ingredients in dogs and cats. Chocolate is toxic to pets and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Raisins (and other grape products) can cause severe kidney failure. The two of these combined is the ultimate toxic nightmare for pets. If your pet eats any chocolate covered raisins this Halloween, take them to your veterinarian immediately for treatment.
- Plastic and foil candy wrappers pose a health risk as they can cause an obstruction in the intestines and irritate the lining of the GI tract. Sometimes, pets can pass the wrappers without a problem, but it is best to keep all wrapped treats away from pets just in case.
- Bite-size hard candy (such as Jolly Ranchers) has a delicious taste for dogs. These treats pose a major choking hazard for pets. Hard candy becomes slippery when mixed with saliva and it can be inhaled into the trachea (windpipe), causing a choking hazard. Be sure to keep these candies away from dogs and cats.
- Sugar-Free Gum may contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute. Xylitol is perfectly safe in people, but it can be especially deadly if ingested by a dog. Xylitol causes a very severe drop in blood sugar that can happen within minutes after ingestion. Pets may become lethargic, unable to walk, and start having seizures. If they survive the initial symptoms, they often will have severe liver damage and potentially fatal liver failure. This is the most dangerous type of Halloween candy for pets.
In spite of being a festive and fun night, Halloween can create a lot of pitfalls for our pets. Having pet insurance assures that your dog or cat is well-cared for in the event of an unforeseen mishap or accident. Check out our flexible coverage options which include no annual or lifetime limits.