Halloween doesn’t have to be a nightmare for you or your pet! All the hype of Halloween can cause our pets a lot of stress. Here are 7 tips to keep you and your pets safe on Halloween.
If you stick with the simple rule that Trick-or-Treat candy, goodies and toys are not for pets, you should be in the clear. However, keep in mind that pets are curious, and their nose will lead them to the treats! Keep all candy, candy wrappers and treats out of the reach of pets to keep your furry family safe. Since they are good little detectives and will sniff it out, it’s a good idea that all treats are kept in a common area like the pantry and not stashed away somewhere like a desk or closet in your kids’ room. If you help your kids to understand why it’s necessary and show them that you’ll protect their goodies by labeling them in the pantry, they’ll be more likely to get on board with keeping their pets safe too!
Poison control hotlines receive an abundance of calls on Halloween and the days following. The most common dangers to pets on Halloween when it comes to human treats are:
● Chocolate: Halloween is prime time for chocolate poisoning in pets. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, high heart rate, tremors, seizures, and death.
● Xylitol: The artificial sweetener Xylitol is found in gum, sugar-free candy, and baked goods. This is a sneaky pet poison that most people don’t think about. It can cause a drop in blood sugar, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure in pets.
● Glow sticks: Although not a food, glow sticks have become increasingly more popular as handouts on Halloween. The plastic portion of a glow stick is not poisonous, but the liquid inside can cause your pet to drool uncontrollably.
Should you need emergency support, the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is 1-888-426-4435.
Here is a perfect alternative treat for your pets (it’s healthy & tasty too!) Pet parents can ensure that your fur babies aren’t left out of the fun altogether by preparing them their own special treats. Try these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Treatos. They are a safe & simple fall treat for your pets. They are easy to make and only require three ingredients! Pet-approved and perfect for fall! Here are a few more ideas. 9 DIY Healthy Fall Treats for Dogs
Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.
The door will be swinging wide open a LOT while all the trick-or-treaters come by. Don’t forget to put your pet’s collar with ID tags on them before the doorbell starts ringing. This is extra important if you have a door-dasher! No, we don’t mean the kind that brings you yummy food.
Be sure to have proper identification on your pet so that if they escape the house or get separated from the family, they can be easily returned. You don’t want Fido or Kitty to get lost! If you have moved recently, let this be a reminder to ensure that your collar Pet ID or microchip identification is updated.
This one seems a simple, common-sense precaution, but let me explain the why behind it. Halloween can be spooky, and pets take their life mission is to keep you safe very seriously. If you’ve seen The Secret Life of Pets, then you know this is true!
The combination of all of the costumes, noises, and the abundance of strangers out trick or treating may be overwhelming for them. On an average day, if your pet barks at every noise known to man, I would say Halloween may cause them to have trouble discerning between real threats and the neighborhood kids out having a good time. If you haven’t done a test run to know if your pet can participate in the fun and not be spooked, please be a good neighbor and keep them indoors! This also serves your pet well by keeping them away from outdoor dangers like candles, candy, or toys that could become choking hazards or could be poisonous to your pet.
Similarly, keeping pets away from answering the door to trick or treaters can help to ensure that everyone has a fun and happy Halloween and that everyone has a fun time. If you have a little Houdini on your hands, all the extra people coming to your door can make it hard for you to keep him contained. Additionally, if your pet gets easily spooked, you may want to take it a step further by providing a secure area for your fur child to stay. Find a quiet spot away from the festivities and excitement, so the rest of the family can enjoy the tricks, treats, and pranks of the night.
● Keep seasonal plants out of reach. It’s wise to keep Halloween decor, including vegetables like pumpkins and corn, out of reach. Small amounts of pumpkin and corn are not dangerous. However, consider that these things could be moldy internally due to
sitting outside in the weather for weeks. When ingested, they could cause a lot of stomach upset if swallowed. That’s not the kind of trick you want to end your night with. You can still decorate with pumpkins and corn stalks; just be sure to keep them out of reach of your pets.
● Speaking of pumpkins, don’t keep lit candles in your jack-o-lanterns around pets. If you are using candles to light your pumpkins, be sure to place them out of reach so that your pet cannot burn themselves or accidentally start a fire.
Keep electrical cords and battery-powered Halloween decorations out of reach. Electric candles would undoubtedly be safer than real candles as long as they are out of reach of curious pets. Pets who may chew on decorations, including cords and batteries, may be in for a big shock if they can get to those items easily. It’s a good idea to tape down cords to reduce the risk of shock or electrocution. Keep battery-powered items out of reach of pets as well as the contents can be harmful if consumed.
A themed family costume can be a fun way to include your pet in the festivities. Ensure the safety of pet costumes prior to Halloween. Essentially, you want to treat your little floofs like they’re a toddler on Halloween. You need to be alert and aware of treats, decor and costumes that may not be appropriate for them.
When it comes to costumes, think of choking hazards and overall safety. It’s always a good idea to try on pet costumes before the big night. Check the fit to ensure that it’s not too loose and that there aren’t any pieces that could come off (or be chewed off) and become a choking hazard. Make sure that the costume doesn’t limit their ability to move or restrict their ability to see, hear or breathe. Costumed pets should be supervised at all times for safety.
Having a reflective element on the costume as well as having your pet on a leash are both great ideas for added safety!
Click here for some simple and safe DIY costume ideas. If your pet is miserable or just won’t tolerate a costume, try a festive bandana! He’ll still be as cute and loveable as always and neither of you will be annoyed at the end of the night.
If this is your first year to have an Emotional Service Animal or a Psychiatric Service Dog, consider doing a trial run of Halloween with them. If your neighborhood goes all out like mine does, houses are already decked out. This can work to your advantage as you familiarize your Service Animal with your neighbors decorations ahead of Halloween. This way, they will less likely to be stressed the night of any parties or trick-or-treating. You can also prepare your Service Dog by taking him into a Halloween store – to see and experience all of the “frights” of Halloween. They will be able to experience decor popping out at them, creepy noises, and costumes hanging around. Reward your pup with plenty of treats for their preparation.
All the extra audio and visual stimulation can be a source of stress for our pets on Halloween, but it doesn’t have to be. Our pets are an important part of our family and with some smart preparation, we can ensure that the holiday is safe and fun for them as well!
Have a Happy Halloween!
If you decide to give any of the treats or costume ideas from our blog a try, tag us on social @americanservicepets.
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
More Great Resources