Halloween and Your Pet

Halloween is meant to be a fun holiday for us humans, but it can be quite scary for our furry friends! From decorations and costumes to strangers, it’s important to be prepared to help keep your pet’s fears and frights to a minimum! Each pet is different, but make sure you consider how your beloved companion may react to all of the new sights and sounds this Halloween. 

Pumpkins, Goblins, Ghosts – OH MY! 

Many people will be decorating the outside of their homes with giant blow-up characters, flashing lights and moving creatures, which can potentially lead to a stressful situation for you and your fur baby! As these decorations can frighten your pet while on a walk, make sure to keep a close eye on their behaviour in case they start to get nervous or stressed on your regular route. If they do, change it up! The easiest way to make sure your pet avoids frightening nighttime decorations is to take them for walks during daylight hours, otherwise be sure to stick to well-lit areas and quiet neighbourhoods. 

Dangerous Decorations 

Almost every pet, whether you have a dog, cat, bird, reptile or small animal, has gotten into something they weren’t supposed to. When decorating your home for Halloween, it’s important that you select decorations that can be displayed out of your pet’s reach. Decorations such as fake spiderwebs and strings can be dangerous for your pet if ingested. By being strategic in how and where you decorate your house, you can ensure your pet stays safe and comfortable and also avoid costly vet bills this season! 

Candles and Critters 

Candles are used by many as decorations and to illuminate pumpkins on Halloween, but these are obvious fire hazards. There are plenty of battery-operated candles and lights available to help avoid any candle related accidents around Halloween! 

Trick or Treating Escapees 

Halloween is meant to be spooky, but you still want to keep yourself and your furry friend safe! Even the calmest pet can get spooked by the doorbell ringing and the front door opening and closing repeatedly. If you suspect that your four-legged family member may attempt to escape while you’re handing out candy, consider investing in a pet gate. Pressure mounted gates are easy to install and can be instantly secured within a doorway or other opening in your home without any hardware! If gating your house isn’t a possibility, you can keep your pet’s leash on them while you’re handing out candy. This will make it easier to get ahold of your pet if they attempt to escape! 

Backyard Boos 

If you typically let your pet roam free outside, you might want to keep a closer eye on them on Halloween! Many of us assume that our backyard is a safe space for our pets, but on Halloween your pet may get spooked and try to escape. Make sure to monitor your pet and backyard to prevent them from sneaking out without you knowing!  An outdoor cat can also get scared by outdoor decorations or strangers, so if they’ve been away from home for longer than normal, be sure to report it. 

Identifying the Creatures 

If your pet does happen to escape, you’ll want to make sure that they are highly visible and identifiable! Outfit your pet with reflective and light up accessories on Halloween to help others see them in the dark. These accessories can also be beneficial for nighttime walks throughout the rest of the year! 

Over time, the legibility of your pet’s identification tag can decrease. It’s important to make sure your pet’s tag is not only up to date with both your phone number and emergency contact, but that it is in good condition as well. If your pet does escape, post on local lost pet social media pages, tell your neighbours and file a lost report with your local animal control and shelter immediately. You can even invest in a GPS tracking collar that syncs with your smartphone, helping you keep track of and locate your pet more quickly! 

A Halloween Retreat

You should also create a safe space away from your door for your fur baby to safely retreat to with their favourite toys and distractions. The easiest way to keep them safe is to simply keep them away from the action in another room! If your pet is showing signs of distress even when they are away from the trick or treating, such as panting or pacing, wearing a Thundershirt or using calming spray on a bandana can help calm their nerves. 

Who Are You? 

Being able to dress up and temporarily become someone or something else is what makes Halloween so much fun, but your pet knows you because of the way you look, sound and smell. If you’re choosing to wear a costume with a mask, lots of makeup or a voice changer, be sure to expose your pet to it before you put it on, take the mask off when it’s not needed and try to use your normal voice around them! 

Dressing Up Daisy 

While dressing your pet up can be fun (and adorable), it’s important to make sure that they are comfortable in apparel. If you’ve ever purchased a coat or sweater for your pet before you’ll likely know how they react to being dressed up, but there’s still a chance they won’t enjoy wearing the costume that you’ve selected. Make sure you get a costume that fits your furry friend properly, and that there is a way for them to get out of it if stuck. Although we may find costumes adorable and entertaining, if your pet is acting stressed or panicking, take the costume off right away. 

Keep the Candy Away 

The most obvious danger to our fur babies around Halloween is the candy bowl. Candy isn’t part of our pet’s diets, and many of them will also attempt to eat the wrappers as well, causing a great deal of digestive distress for them. On top of this, chocolate is extremely dangerous for any pet. If all of your efforts fail and your pet does get into the chocolate, take them to the vet immediately to ensure they get the proper medical attention that they need.

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