Halloween is becoming more and more popular and as well as adults and children enjoying the celebration, many of us like to get our pets involved too.
But although dressing up your pet can be entertaining, it’s important to keep in mind their safety and welfare at all times. So if you’re thinking about involving your pet in the celebrations, follow our simple Halloween safety measures below.
Hide the treats
Pets should not be allowed to eat human food, such as sweets. Chocolate in particular, even in small amounts, is poisonous for cats and dogs.
Sweets containing a substance called xylitol (a sweetener found in sugar-free sweets and chocolate) can also cause serious health issues, and may result in vomiting and diarrhoea or even result in fatalities.
If you really want to celebrate Halloween with your pet, buy them specially made dog or cat treats for the occasion.
Keep them inside
Halloween is ultimately a change in routine and the hustle and excitement of it all can spook some pets. Even well-mannered dogs might find costumed trick or treaters knocking at the door stressful.
If your pet is wary of strangers, or has a tendency to overreact and bite, it’s best to keep your pet safe indoors. The first step to comforting your pet is to place them in a room away from the front door and window, in a quiet space with a treat or chew toy to keep them occupied.
The RSPCA recommends that you don’t dress up your pet in costume as it could cause undue stress and affect your pet's health.
But if you have decided to get a costume, be sure to try it on your pet in advance. If they show signs of distress or abnormal behaviour, you should remove the costume immediately. Also ensure that the costume does not limit sight, hearing, breathing or moving.
Finally, you should check costumes carefully, looking out for easily chewable pieces as these could be a choking hazard. If your dog or cat swallows a costume fragment or button, it could cause a blockage its throat or stomach and consequently, your pet might need an operation to remove it.
Trick or treating
Halloween brings a flurry of activity with trick or treaters arriving at the door constantly, and this can be stressful for pets. If you open the front door, make sure your cat or dog doesn’t scamper away to somewhere it deems safe to hide.
For this reason, it is important your pet has a collar with an ID tag on and a microchip which can be useful when finding a lost pet.
Many people place carved pumpkins on their doorsteps or within their houses, on window sills or shelves.
Some pets are curious, in particular, kittens, who are great climbers and can accidentally knock over lanterns or candles, starting a fire. It’s therefore best to avoid candles and use pet-safe decorations.
Some dogs will swallow almost anything, which can be a problem, especially at Halloween, with children dropping large items such as glow sticks, sweet wrappers and jewellery. Small objects will usually be narrow enough for your pet to digest, but larger objects can get stuck in your pet’s throat, stomach or intestines.
If you know or suspect that your pet has swallowed something then you should visit the vet as soon as possible. Left untreated, swallowed objects can prove fatal.
If your dog or cat needs an X-ray or emergency operation, this can prove very expensive. Having pet insurance in place will help cover the cost should an accident occur.