While most pet owners are already aware of the stress and potential dangers that fireworks season can bring, many forget about the possible pet-hazards that lurk around Halloween.
Halloween is a fun time for all the family, and with the right preparation and safety measures in place, it can be a day both you and your pets can enjoy! From candy to costumes, read our top tips and help your pet have a safe and spooktacular Halloween.
Keep the treats away
While tasty treats are a staple of Halloween, they should be kept well away from pets, as most Halloween candy will cause them harm. Chocolate is very toxic to both dogs and cats, and many sweets also contain artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which is toxic if ingested. Even seemingly healthier treats, like fruit and nut mixes, can be dangerous for our four-legged pals, as certain nuts and fruits (such as raisins) can also be toxic, as well as posing a choking hazard.
Instead, why not whip your dog up their own tasty Halloween treat this year?
Trusted tip: if you have children, it’s important to explain this to them too, just in case they are tempted to share their snacks with their furry family members.
Stick to pet-friendly decorations
That fake plastic spider might seem like a fun, harmless decoration to you, but imagine it from your pet’s point of view. Cats especially may decide that ‘spider’ needs to be hunted from their home, or a young puppy might even mistake it for one of their favourite chew toys. Any small decoration can pose a choking risk, so it’s best to go without.
Instead, why not decorate with your pets in mind — head to your local pet store and pick them up a few spooky-themed toys they can safely enjoy, or create a DIY haunted house for your cat using cardboard boxes.
Stay inside after dark
On Halloween, it’s best to walk your dog before dark if you can, as you’ll have a better chance of avoiding any fireworks, or running into children dressed up for the occasion (as costumes and scary masks may confuse or frighten dogs). Similarly, if you have a cat, you should call them in early for the night, before the festivities begin.
Guinea pigs, rabbits, and any other small pets that might live outdoors should be given extra bedding to burrow in, or if possible, bring them in for the night.
Trusted tip: be cautious when opening and doors and windows on Halloween, as a nervous pet is more likely to run off. Confine your pet in for the night, and make sure they are wearing an ID tag with your details on it just in case.
Pumpkin and pets
Jack-o-lanterns can add the perfect finishing touch to your spooky decor, but candles and pets don’t mix. A wagging tail or curious kitty can easy send this flying or risk being burnt, so if you do plan to try your paw at some pumpkin carving, keep it out of reach of pets, and opt for flameless LED candles instead.
While pumpkin can be nutritious for pets, too much can cause digestive issues, so if you plan to cook up what’s left after carving, remember — everything in moderation!
Many pet stores around this time will begin selling pet Halloween costumes, and while these may look cute, some pets may find this distressing.
It’s best to keep it simple — maybe opt for a festive-themed collar or bandana this year instead, and remember: never force your pet into an outfit they don’t want to wear. After all, they’re cute enough as it is!
Provide a safe space
As this can be a stressful time of year, make sure to provide a safe space for your pet to escape to — this could be their bed, or they may even opt to hide underneath or behind the furniture. Don’t try to coax them out, as this can cause further stress and agitation.
Preparation is always key in these instances, so when the festivities begin, close the curtains and put on some music to distract them — you can use our Trusted pet playlist to help keep them calm. You may also wish to use a calming agent such as Adaptil, which uses artificial calming pheromones to help soothe anxious pets, or consider training methods to desensitise your pets to loud noises for a longer-term solution.
Halloween is a fun time for all, and with the right planning, preparation and awareness in place, all animals can enjoy a safe and stress-free night.
From all of us at Team Trusted — we hope you have a spooktacular and safe Halloween!