The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns pet parents about the many perils of Halloween. While the myth that cats are in danger on All Hallow’s Eve, (or that black cats are likely to be stolen by marauding Satan-worshippers), has long be debunked; there are still a number of dangers that cats and dogs are susceptible to on holidays like this one. Review this safety guide below to stay aware of the hazards pets face amid the candy-crazed-costume-clad crowds.
Safety Tips and Reminders
- Look out for candy-snitching! From candy corn, to Reese’s pieces, Halloween is one of the most sugar-saturated holidays that exists. Pet-owners often forget that leaving a candy bowl in paw’s reach actually subjects their cat or dog to dangerous treat consumption. Artificial sweeteners like xylitol are toxic for pets, and are found in many candies. Some dogs will eat anything tasty they can find (even chocolate, though it is poisonous for them)! Don’t make the mistake of thinking just because there is a wrapper on the candy that a pet is safe from it. They might accidentally swallow the wrapping in the process!
Other tummy-upset cautions: Are you throwing a Halloween party where there is sugary fruit punch, cookies, and maybe even alcohol? Make sure to keep these up high and away from pets. Watch out for plants like stringy hay, dried corn, and raw pumpkin. Though these things are not poisonous, chewing on them or eating them could give your pet indigestion, diarrhea or stomach cramps.
- Watch out for loose wires. Adding new lights, decorations and other house fixtures will mean an increase of wires and cords laying around. These can be dangerous to pets if they attempt to chew on the flavorful rubber surrounding the cords. Be aware of any decorations that dangle, or hang in a tempting way. That witches’ broom that smells like cinnamon could turn into a choking hazard for your dog, if he starts chomping on the sticks, just like the fluffy bat wings on your door hanging could be a tempting chew toy for your cat. Keep a close eye on your pets to make sure they aren’t getting into trouble.
- Pumpkin candles. While most animals sense that they should stay away from fire, the flickering flame could be enticing to a cat who is watching its every motion. Likewise, the hot melted wax could burn their paws if a dog accidentally knocks the pumpkin over, or tips the candle. It is better to leave the pumpkin outside, or put indoor pumpkins on surfaces where prying paws cannot reach.
- Costumes: We know you have purchased Fluffy her flower costume months ago, or maybe you were hoping to take matching-costume pictures with your cat. Animals certainly can look adorable in costumes… but this is often abused by many pet owners.
If you are considering putting a costume on your pet, be forewarned that most cat costumes are a bad idea, and not even the cutest dog costumes may be worth it; however, if you insist, then be sure that the costume in no way inhibits or constricts their movement, or ability to bark or meow. Practice putting the costume on the pet beforehand to watch how he or she responds. If it seems to agitate, annoy, or cause them to be itchy, you might want to reconsider the necessity of a pet-costume.
NOTE: Unless your dog or cat is extremely friendly, curious and excited to meet EVERYONE they come across, it would be safer to keep them in the garage or laundry room. If you worry that the sound of hundreds of people wandering the streets, dogs barking, and door bells ringing might be too stressful, add a sound-making machine to the room they are in. This should help drown out any scary sounds that could increase their stress and anxiety.