Halloween is a fun and festive holiday for children, adults, and even some pets. However, not all dogs and cats enjoy costumes or trick-or-treaters. Here at The COVE, we enjoy educating pet families on how to have a safe and happy Halloween with their fur family members.
Keep the Candy Away from Cats and Dogs
This time of year, our emergency department often sees lots of candy ingestion cases. Avoid the emergency room this holiday season and stash your Halloween candy far away from your pets. Keep it in a locked cupboard and do not leave candy in dishes around your home.
Sugar is no better for cats and dogs than it is for us. The artificial sweetener, Xylitol, found in most candies and even in some peanut butter can be deadly for dogs – even in minimal amounts.
Additionally, chocolate can be toxic, and even fatal, for both dogs and cats – depending on size of the pet and the amount eaten. To know how much chocolate can be toxic for your dog, try the Chocolate Toxicity Calculator. If you believe your pet has ingested a dangerous amount of chocolate or any other toxic substances, please seek medical care immediately.
Celebrate with Fresh Pumpkin
A special Halloween treat that your dog can enjoy is fresh pumpkin or pumpkin puree. Do not give your pets pumpkin pie filling as it is full of sugar. Pumpkin is great for dogs’ digestive health as it is full of fiber. Cut up and roast some pumpkin or make delicious pumpkin dog treats. Don’t forget about the felines – you can give them some organic pumpkin puree (baby food).
However, it is always important to ask your primary care veterinarian before supplementing or introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.
Keep Dogs on a Tight Leash
If your dog is accompanying his or her human siblings while trick-or-treating, make sure to put them on a leash. If your canine is anxious around strangers or children, it might be best to leave them at home. For the party animals, keep your pets on a tight leash since they might get spooked more easily at night and make a quick dash. Around Halloween, we tend to see pets with serious trauma, such as being hit by a car.
Get Your Pet Microchipped
Many pets go missing on Halloween, and that is why it is essential that your pet’s microchip is up to date. And if your pet isn’t microchipped, it’s time to make an appointment with your primary care veterinarian.
Also, both dogs and cats (indoor ones, too) should have a properly fitted collar with current contact information on the ID tag. If your fur baby does escape the yard or house, having the proper identification will increase the chances of a safe and quick return home.
Keep Pets Safe Indoors
Unfortunately, there are people who do vicious things to animals on Halloween. Keep your pets inside and not in your yard on Halloween night. We recommend that even your outdoor cats be kept inside for a few days before and after the holiday. Black cats are especially vulnerable, but any pet can be a target.
Consider putting your pet in a room with the door closed and a few toys to keep them occupied on Halloween night. Lots of cute trick-or-treaters means your front door will open often, making it easy for your pet to sneak out and wander off while you’re distracted. Additionally, some pets can become anxious with all those weirdly dressed strangers and the doorbell constantly ringing. A few hours in a secure room can keep them safe and happy, and you from worry.
While pumpkin is a tasty treat, a lighted jack-o’-lantern is a safety hazard. Pets can get excited and easily knock it over and start a fire. Kittens and cats can be particularly curious about new decorations and get burned or singed by open flames. Keep jack-o’-lanterns out of your pet’s reach, or better yet, use a flameless candle or a plastic jack-o-lantern.
Don’t Force Your Pet to Wear a Costume
If you want to dress up your dog or cat, make sure they don’t mind wearing a costume. Let them wear it for short durations for a few days leading up to Halloween so they get used to it. Never dress your pet in anything flammable or with any pieces that could be easily chewed off. Make sure the costume doesn’t constrict your pet’s ability to see, breathe, bark, meow, hear, or move.
We hope these tips help you and your beloved pets have a safe, happy, and furry Halloween!
The COVE is OPEN 24/7
You can trust in the care of our emergency department, led by Jacqueline Nobles, DVM, DACVECC, a board-certified specialist in emergency and critical care. The COVE is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA. We welcome your call any time, day or night, at 757-935-9111.
The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.