Top Ten Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

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Eliminate the dangers of Halloween

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families, but what about for our pets? Yes, there are some adorable pet costumes to look forward to, but from constantly opening the door for trick-or-treaters to Halloween pranksters to all that candy lying around, there can be some hazards as well. Forgo any stressors or dangers this year by following these 10 easy tips.

#10 Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets

All forms of chocolate - especially baking or 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. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be lethally poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, subsequent loss of coordination, and seizures.

#9 Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween

Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable, nonetheless. Keep your pet indoors on Halloween night.

#8 Keep pets confined and away from the door

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends, who don’t know the difference between fun yelling and aggressive yelling. Dogs can be territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick-or-treaters. Putting your pets in a secure room away from the front door will protect the kids, and also prevent them from darting outside into the night.

#7 Keep your black cats - or any cats - indoors around Halloween

Any outdoor animals can become the targets of Halloween pranksters, but black cats are especially at risk. Black cats are sometimes associated with satanic rituals and sacrifices, and cruel or naïve people may harm black cats just because of their mythical association with the Halloween holiday. In fact, many shelters are known to uphold a no black cats adoption policy during the month of October as a safety precaution.

#6 Keep Halloween plants, such as pumpkins and corn, out of reach

While we might not think of taking a big bite out of the jack-o-lantern or dried corn, keep in mind that they are still food, and still smell yummy to a dog. Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets (i.e., chow-hounds) ingest them in large quantities. A dangerous intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins...

#5 Don't keep lit pumpkins or any type of fire around pets

Should they get too close to the lit candle, pets run the risk of burning themselves or even knocking the candle over and causing a fire. Instead, rely on flashlights and battery operated tea-light candles to bring a glow to your jack-o-lanterns.

#4 Keep your decorations safe

If decorating with electrical equipment, be sure to keep the wires out of the way so your pet doesn’t get to them. Wires from lights and other decorations, if chewed, will not only be ruined but could give your pet a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

#3 Consider your pet's feelings while costume shopping

If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, breathing, or the ability to bark or meow. If your pet acts like he or she would rather eat the costume than wear it, it’s probably not a good idea. And always keep your outfitted pet under close supervision to prevent strangling, suffocation, or choking.

#2 Try on pet costumes before the big night

If your pet seems distressed, allergic, or shows any abnormal behavior while in costume, consider letting him or her go “au naturel.” Festive bandanas and ribbons can work just as well for party poopers, too.

#1 IDs, Please!

If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Microchips are great, but require a veterinarian with a scanner to locate the owner’s information. It is always best to use a collar with an ID tag – with up-to-date information – so that your pet can be returned most quickly.

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