Many people now include their pets in their Halloween celebrations. This is an especially great opportunity for fur kids and their humans to have lots of fun. However, there are some potential dangers involved. Below are some important tips for keeping your pets safe and secure this Halloween.
Keep Black Cats Indoors
As a long time kitty parent, I am of the mind that cats should never be permitted outdoors unsupervised, ever. This is especially true of black cats during the Halloween season, as there are some crazy people out there who will torture or even kill these kitties during this occasion.
Many animal rescue shelters actually refrain from adopting out black cats during the entire month of October for this very reason. I, for one, kept an especially close watch on my Omar, who was very friendly, at this time of the year. The same goes for his black kitty predecessor, Murphy, who is very curious and enjoys checking out the trick treaters who come to our door. So I strongly encourage other black cat parents to keep an especially close eye on their kitties.
Some Cautions About Pet Costumes
As for dressing pets in costumes, the ASPCA advises that people should only do this if they are certain that their pets will enjoy this, as opposed to being uncomfortable or even traumatized. Pet parents should also check to ensure that pet costumes don’t have dangling or other types of decorations that the pet could chew off and ingest.
Make sure that the costumes fit properly and are not constrictive in any way. The pets should be able to move and breathe without effort. Furthermore, pets should wear their ID tags, at all times.
Make Sure that Pets Are Happy
Dr. Simon Starkey, pet care expert for PetSmart, offers these important Halloween safety tips: “Before having pets join in the Halloween fun, it’s important to assess whether your pet will be comfortable participating or if the festivities will cause undue stress.”
He added that some pets might be frightened when rambunctious, strangely dressed trick or treaters show up at the door. So it’s advisable to keep especially skittish pets in a safe place, in a quiet part of the house that’s removed from the Halloween festivities.
Make Sure that Pets Don’t Ingest Potentially Deadly Treats
Many treats that are perfectly safe for people can be downright toxic for pets. Chocolate is one Halloween favorite that can be especially deadly for dogs and cats. That’s because chocolate contains theobromine, a highly caffeinated compound that can have an extremely adverse affect on a pet’s central nervous and cardiovascular systems. Plus, chocolate can cause profuse vomiting and diarrhea in certain animals.
Pet parents should also be especially mindful of the dangers of candy wrappers such as foil and cellophane. These can cause intestinal blockages if ingested by pets, so it’s best to keep all candies and other objects that may be dangerous to pets in a safe place where they won’t have access to these. Instead, have plenty of pet treats on hand, so that the furry ones can safely join in the fun.
Make Sure that Pets Are Safe If Going Outdoors
PetSmart’s Dr. Starkey advises: “If you plan to walk your dog around the neighborhood in the evening, make sure he’s properly outfitted and at ease around strangers and crowds. An adult should always have control of the dog’s leash, and reflective leashes, collars or ID tags are essential accessories.” Many pet retailers now carry reflective costumes for critters, which is another excellent way to keep pets safe when they stroll outdoors during Halloween.
Beware of the Hazards of Halloween Decorations
It’s also important to keep in mind the potential hazards of certain Halloween decorations. Thus, the doc cautions pet parents to ensure that lights, candles and other such decorations are not accessible to curious cats and playful pooches, especially puppies.
Halloween should be scary in a fun way, and not dangerous for pets. So be sure to follow these tips to ensure that everyone has a “boo-tiful” time.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons