Halloween is upon us! It is a fun holiday to dress up, eat too much candy, and even get your pet involved! (I myself have a chihuahua who has a bat and pumpkin costume, and my dear Lucy Goo is a witchy!) However, there are some precautions to take when Halloween comes around that will make the holiday a pleasant experience and could even save your pet’s life.
Keep the candy bowls out of reach. It’s that simple. And if you have a cat along with a dog, keep the candy in a container with a lid. Cats have been known to knock candy bowls off of counters and we all know who is waiting to eat everything off the floor…our canine ‘vacuums’.
There are many reasons for keeping the candy bowl away from your pets. Although cats are usually unlikely to eat the sweets, they are attracted to the wrappers- especially wrappers that are curly and crunchy. These can cause terrible bowel obstructions, and of course your cat can choke on them, too. Keep the temptation of the candy wrapper away and instead give kitty a healthy treat or ‘crunchy’ toy.
Chocolate and dogs don’t mix. You’ve probably heard that before, and it is true. A small amount ingested can cause a bad tummy ache and a large amount can be lethal. But did you know sugarless gum and candy is extremely hazardous to dogs, too? The ingredient ‘xylitol’ is an artificial sweetener used in such things as toothpaste, mouthwash, candy, gum….and more. If you have anything ‘sugar-free’ in the house, check the ingredients. If you see xylitol among them, keep those things especially out of reach. If ingested, your dog can experience vomiting, seizures, possible liver failure, and even death.
My pets love dressing up in costumes, it’s their thing. I think they think they are little human children, the way they prance around when I put a costume on them! But, not all pets like being dressed up. If your pet is uncomfortable wearing clothes, give them a break and lay off the dressing up. There’s no need to agonize your pet by dressing him or her up- and pets that are unhappy in clothes will try and get them off. This can be dangerous- potential strangling and blockages due to ingestion of clothes. If you’re aiming for a cute pic, take a regular shot of your dog or cat and photo shop in a cute holiday background or costume. If you really want that picture of Fido and Fluffy dressed as Batman and Robin, though, then be sure the stage is set, put on their costumes, take the pic quickly, then take the costumes off, and treat them up with a healthy pet snack!
Have a plan for how to handle your pets the day of Halloween. If you have cats who try to bolt out the front door, keep them in a separate room while the trick-or-treaters are coming. Keep dogs in another room, or behind a baby gate. You don’t want the chance of your dog escaping, a child feeding her candy, or any nipping due to the excitement. The sweetest dog can get snappy if she experiences anxiety, fright, and gets scared. The safest thing to do is to keep pets far away from the door. If you have a dog that gets anxious when she hears the doorbell ring, make a plan for your dog to be at a quiet place- with a friend, relative, or pet sitter-somewhere away from your house that is soothing and quiet.
One last note. And I find it a sad thing to even have to mention- but if you have an outdoor black cat, please keep kitty inside during Halloween. Black cats are as sweet as any other kind of cat. In fact, I grew up with one, and she had the coolest purr- she was a little motor box, and my best friend. But, unfortunately, black cats are often the victims of horrific acts of violence during the Halloween holiday. Keep them safe and keep them inside.
Have a Happy ‘Howlween’!
By Nicole Bruder, owner of Lucy Goo Pet Sitting