HISTORIC TRIANGLE — Costumes, treats and parties help make Halloween a super fun, family-friendly celebration but, it can be terrifying for our pets. Ferris wants to ensure that all his pet friends remain safe during spooky season with these tips:
- Even leading up to the festivities, watch decorations and keep wires out of reach. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns that a carved, candle-lit jack-o-lantern can easily be knocked over and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by a candle flame.
- Stress and anxiety may be an issue with your pets while door-to-door trick or treating is taking place. The Humane Society of the United States suggests putting your pet in a quiet room or crate while all the activities are taking place. This gives your dog a safe space where they can be comfortable but, not allow them to run out an open door. As the noises from knocking or doors or ringing the doorbell can be jarring, minimize noise by sitting outside. Masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people may become frightening.
- When going out trick or treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion, and a bite or a lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun. If you do feel your dog can handle the activity, make sure they are wearing identification, in case they get free and lost. For extra measure, wearing glow collars allows them to be visible to people and cars on the road.
- According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), keep all human costume pieces away from pets, along with glow sticks, decorations, batteries, and other items. When chewed, glow stick items can release liquid that tastes really bad and can make pets drool excessively or act strangely (though it isn’t likely to be harmful). Other costume parts and decorations might cause choking, internal injury, or illness.
- Pets in costume, while adorable, can also pose risks to your pet. ASPCA states, “some critters enjoy wearing clothing, while others feel stressed out by it. If you’re sure your furry friend is up for it, you can help avoid incident or injury by making sure the costume fits properly, does not limit mobility, will not obstruct vision, hearing or breathing and is free of any choking hazards. Even if your doggie or kitty is used to wearing clothing, it’s a good idea to try their costume on prior to the big night. Your pal will need some time to get used to the costume before they are surrounded by all the extra people and the excitement the holiday brings. If your pet seems at all uncomfortable during your dress rehearsal, it’s probably best to ditch the costume.”
- Just like humans, there are some foods that can be unsettling or even deadly to our animals. Keep popular treats such as chocolate, sugar-free candies that contain xylitol, and raisins away from dogs. These foods, and even the wrappers, can cause ingestion problems, toxicity and choking hazards in canines. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.
Enjoy the treats and, maybe a trick or two this spooky season! Ferris wishes you all a Happy Halloween!
Research sources for this article include: American Kennel Club, American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), The Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,