Bags of sugary candy, a doorbell rung by jubilant children wearing clever costumes, and creative jack-o-lanterns illuminating the night. Halloween may be America’s favorite holiday and the national average for spending on candy, costumes and carved pumpkins is $74 per person. However, Halloween may not be your pet’s favorite holiday and if you don’t take precautions, Halloween may become a horror show for your favorite fur baby.
Candy May Not Be a Sweet Deal for Your Dog
Everyone, including your dog, will want to sneak a treat from the candy bowl. Two common candy ingredients make the candy bowl off limits to your dog. First, chocolate, the most popular candy ingredient, can be toxic to dogs, causing stomach upset, hyperactivity and potentially seizures. A less common, but more dangerous candy ingredient is the artificial sweetener, xylitol. Even a small amount of xylitol can be lethal to dogs as it causes liver failure and low blood sugar.
Fur on Fire
The carved pumpkin on your front stoop which greets your guests, gives a warm, friendly glow. But pets may inadvertently knock it over and singe their fur or set a rug on fire. Use an electric candle to light your jack-o-lantern and keep pumpkins out of reach of your pets. While pumpkin is not toxic, its high fiber content may cause an upset stomach.
The internet is loaded with delightful videos of costumed pets – the shark cat on the Roomba and a pack of wiener dogs dressed up like wieners! All pets are adorable in costumes, but some actually hate wearing anything but their natural fur coat. Before entering your pet in the local Halloween parade, make sure he can move about in his costume and that there are no loops or buttons that present a choking hazard. Even if you think it is the cutest costume ever, if he hates it, switch to a pumpkin themed bandana or a collar with emblazoned with a skull and crossbones instead.
Preventing a Halloween Nightmare
Halloween is just not the best holiday for your pet. I suggest he spend a quiet evening away from the front door, safely tucked into his crate or carrier. If she demands to participate in the Halloween celebration, make sure she has both a microchip and a collar with an ID tag in case she slips out the front door during an encounter with a trick-or-treater. Have your pet practice wearing his costume in advance of the holiday and make any necessary alterations in the costume’s fit to ensure safety. Finally, know where the closest animal ER is located and post the pet poison control numbers, so if ingestion of candy occurs, you can call them immediately for advice.