Halloween is a great holiday all kids adore, but there are still plenty of adults that enjoy getting festive for this time of year and preparing scary decorations and treats for the event. If you’re one of those people, you know that there is usually more buzz around your house on Halloween than usual. Needless to say, the increased amount of visits to your home combined with spontaneous or faked screams are effective triggers for your pet’s anxiety.
Depending on your dog’s temperament and personality, he might greet all the trick-or-treating visitors with joy, or he might get anxious and actually start barking or even hiding somewhere in the house. That’s only one thing that might annoy your dog, but are there some things that can actually harm your dog on Halloween? The treats, decorations, Jack-o-lanterns? Are they all safe for your dog? What about pet costumes? Do dogs really like them, or not at all?
Well, just as with Christmas or other popular holidays, there are some precautions that you need to be aware of in order to keep your pet safe during the “All Hallows Eve”.
Let’s see what are the things you need to take care of in order to save your dog from having a real nightmare on your favorite Holiday.
Halloween Pet Safety Tips
1. Keep Trick-Or-Treat Candies Out Of Your Pet’s Reach
You probably already know this, but chocolate in any form can be very dangerous to your dog/cat. In some cases, ingesting chocolate can even be fatal for canines and felines too, so if you happen to have some baked brownies or chocolate cakes, makes sure to keep them away from your dog’s reach.
On the other hand, Trick-or-Treat candies contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found to be poisonous to dogs. You don’t want your dog to have seizures and suffer from a sudden drop in blood sugar, just because Halloween candies were too easy for him to reach. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your Trick-or-Treat moments, just make sure you put the candies on a safe place, away from your dog.
Although it is not yet confirmed how toxic Xylitol is to cats, there is no need to risk and leave things up to chance.
2. Keep Your Pet Inside The House On Halloween
People sometimes get crazy on Halloween and get into their “creepy” roles too seriously. Pranksters might tease your dog, and there have been cases of people stealing, injuring and even killing pets on Halloween night. Yes, it seems quite scary, and a bit unlikely, but why risk? Keep your pet safely inside your home until the holiday is over!
If you have a black cat, or know someone that owns one, be aware that black cats are especially at risk from pranks on Halloween. Therefore, keep them safe inside your home.
3. Consider Putting Your Dog In A Crate
Although indoors will definitely be a safer option than leaving your dog in the yard, it doesn’t mean that Fido will be completely calm inside either. Halloween means a lot of strangers ringing on your door dressed in quite an unusual way. Your door will be opening and closing all the time, there might be pranks and weird costumes and accessories that might scare your dog off.
Fear is never good in pets, because it is the n.1 cause of behavior issues. Your pet getting scared can result in an escape attempt or in unexpected bursts of aggression. That’s why it might be wise to confine your pet in a safe area or put him in a secure crate.
4. Keep Carved Pumpkins Out Of Reach
You might know that pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat, and you’re right. But Halloween pumpkin displays are not quite the same thing. If your dog ingests small pieces of uncooked pumpkin (that can potentially be molded too) can cause quite unpleasant gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, intestinal blockage or other forms of tummy upsets. Not only, but if there’s some mold too, the mycotoxins that are produced in it might result in neurologic issues in dogs.
Similarly, mold won’t help your cat either. But it’s easier to control your cat’s eating habits, since felines tend to be more picky eaters than dogs.
5. Lit Pumpkins Shouldn’t Be Accessible By Your Dog
Carved Jack-o-Lanterns are made to glow in the dark. Otherwise, carving the pumpkins doesn’t really have a point, right? However, if you can’t wait to lit up your Jack-o’s , hold on for a second. Before lighting them with candles, be very cautious about where you are going to place them.
You don’t want to place them anywhere your pet can have access or reach to, because the glowing effect will surely catch your pet’s attention, tempting him to investigate the pumpkin. When that occurs, your pet could either burn himself, set himself on fire, or even cause a fire. Although Halloween is a scary holiday, let’s not exaggerate, there’s no need to threaten lives of your entire household.
6. Check If Your Pet’s ID Is Up-To-Date
Although you probably have this covered. It might be wise to check whether your pet’s ID information is up-to-date (such as your address or phone number). Is the tag on your dog’s collar still there? Are all the information clearly visible?
Microchip is the safest way to found your dog in case he gets lost, but giving a look at in what condition your dog’s or cat’s collar and tag are, is definitely not wasted time.
7. No Glow Sticks For Dogs
Glow sticks may be fun for us people, and in the end, they even might help us keep ourselves (and our kids) safe. These sticks are visually appealing to dogs, which might make them want to chew them for a while. Although the glowing liquid inside the stick isn’t toxic, when ingested it might cause vomiting, drooling, and agitation in dogs. If you catch your dog’s muzzle glowing after he had chewed upon a couple of sticks, make sure to offer him some fresh water and to clear out the material thoroughly.
8. Electric Halloween Decorations Aren’t That Safe Either
So, if lit candles and lit Jack-o-Lanterns aren’t quite safe, electric and battery-powered Halloween decorations are fine? Not really. Although they are a safer option than having a potential source of fire, electrical cords and batteries might also be a health threat to your pup.
Make sure your dog doesn’t chew on cords as this might lead to an electrical shock or burn. On the other hand, chewing on batteries might lead to chemical burns or gastrointestinal blockage. Therefore, protecting your dog by keeping electrical cords and battery-powered decorations somewhere your pup can’t reach is a good way to ensure everyone is having fun on Halloween.
Cats are usually wiser when it comes to chewing. They are not big fans of it.
9. Be Careful With Pet Costumes
Finally, we also need to address a couple of things regarding pet costumes too. Pets wearing scary, creative costumes is just so adorable and funny, that it’s no wonder every dog owner has thought about putting a crazy costume on his pup. Before finally picking that perfect costume and dressing your dog in it, there are a couple of things you should consider.
First of all, you should first establish whether the costume is comfortable enough. It should be made of light, natural materials that won’t be tight around areas your dog might feel more sensitive about. The ideal costume can’t restrict any movement, hearing, eyesight, and, most importantly, it shouldn’t interfere with your dog’s breathing movements. Also, buy a costume that is designed for dogs instead of using Halloween accessories such as devil horns or so, that your dog might find to be perfect chew toys.
Felines are less likely to accept wearing any costumes as they usually don’t enjoy having things around them (unless it’s a box, of course).
10. Try Pet Costumes The Day Before Halloween
Another thing that all pet owners should have in mind is that pets aren’t made to be dressed up. Although it is true that some pets simply get along with their pet owner’s wishes and are completely fine wearing cute jumpers or socks, there are others that can’t stand being dressed.
Therefore, it is not so rare to see dogs and cats that are just not comfortable in costumes. The costumes annoy them, make them anxious, and eventually end up being torn apart. So, a day or two before Halloween, let your pet try the costume and see if he’s acting weird. If he’s being just his normal self and is maybe show offing his new style then you can be sure that the costume won’t cause any unnecessary issues and use it for the event.
11. Invest In A Reflective Leash
Now a piece of Halloween pet safety advice for dog owners. If you really want to have everything under control, investing in a reflective leash might be among the things you want to do. If you go trick-or-treating with your dog, it might be a good idea to get a reflective collar and leash that will signalize drivers that there is a dog on the road.
Enough about safety! But, is there something you can do to make Halloween more exciting for your pet too? Apparently, there are numerous things that you can do that will entertain your pet on Halloween.
We love the idea of throwing a pet Halloween party that will not only entertain all the furry pals, but will also give you and your friends a lot of laughter and stories to remember. That’s why we will present you 10 coolest activities that you can organize for your four-legged friends that will make everyone happier. (before throwing a party, make sure you went through our Halloween safety list!)
Note: The Party tips are mostly directed to dogs and their owners, since getting a lot of cats together in a closed space, might easily end up in a cat fight. Ouch!
Throw A Pet Halloween Party
Halloween is usually a holiday when everything is completely directed to kids and their costumes, trick or treating and so on. No matter how hard including your dog in the Halloween equation might seem to you, there are plenty of ways you can make this festivity a fun one for your furry pals as well. No one needs to be left out from the Halloween entertainment, and neither your dog.
You can choose to do some of these activities just for your dog alone, but, you can also throw a party for your dog and your friends’ furry companions that everyone will remember. Here are some of the things that you can do that will entertain you, your pet-owning friends and your four-legged friends at the same time!
1. Costumes, Costumes, Costumes!
Organize on time which dog will wear which costume. There are different kinds of costumes for big-sized, medium-sized and small-sized dogs. You should talk to your invitees and plan who’s going to wear what costume. It doesn’t have to be super expensive. Everything that you put on your pup will look cute and funny, especially when there’s a bunch of dressed-up dogs. Imagine what a photo you could do!
2. Costume Competition
If you really want to have a great laugh, throw a costume competition and reward the best costume with a bowl full of tasty, homemade treats. This way your friends will be motivated to think their pet’s costume through and you will be hosting a once-in-a-lifetime party.
3. Trick And Treat
Halloween is not Halloween without trick-or-treat, right? Well, in case of canines, it seems like they resonate much better with the trick AND treat concept. What does that mean? Well, if you’re gathering an entire group of furry friends at your home, you can do a game everyone will love.
Each dog has to perform a trick in front of the crowd with the help of his owner. The dog that knows the best trick wins a bowl full of tasty treats (or a good, yummy bone).
Pretty much as hide-n-go-seek, but only for dogs. Hide tasty treats in some easily accessible places, and then slowly up the game by hiding them on more difficult places. However, don’t do more than a couple of rounds, as you don’t want your pup to get overweight after just one night of playing fun games.
5. Bobbing For Treats
While bobbing for apples isn’t a very dog-friendly activity (they might choke on them, or ingest seeds that are poisonous to dogs), you can make a slightly modified game for your dog. Fill large bowls with water and put in some bones or dog toys. Remember that the more pets are invited, the more bowls you’ll need. Put down the bowls, and let the dogs claim their prizes.
6. Set Up An Agility Course
If you have a yard, you can also set up a Halloween-themed agility course that will both entertain your dog and keep him active. You can use plenty of items form your house to create obstacles and tunnels and finish the course with some pet-friendly Halloween decorations. Don’t forget to use a timer to see which dog was the fastest to finish the course. Make a special treat for the winner and his owner!
This game will surely be a source of some great videos that you all are going to rewatch for years!
7. Howling Competition
Dogs won’t quite become werewolves for Halloween or on the full moon. But some dogs actually love to howl (Huskies in particular). If in your furry crew there are more dogs that can howl, make them howl by triggering them with yourself howling or another sound that makes them howl. This game might get a bit noisy, but it will be so hilarious to see a bunch of dogs howling together.
If there’s a dog that has a really spooky howl, give him a special treat. However, don’t leave others out and share with them some treats too!
However, if throwing a dog Halloween party seems like too much of a mess to you, you might also consider taking your pet to a Halloween parade in the nearest city. Every year more and more Halloween pet events are held across the country, so you will surely be able to find the one that will fit both you and Fido perfectly.