Halloween and fall activities can be a fun time for the entire family. However, it can present some risks as well as stressors to our pets. There are many ways in which we can plan ahead to assure a safe holiday for the entire family - furry members included. Here are some suggestions:
Keep those sweet treats out of reach! Halloween candy can be quite tempting, but offers several hazards to our pets. Chocolate is a favorite for people, but can cause a number of different toxicity signs from mild gastric upset, to neurologic signs and death depending on the amount and type they consume. Xylitol, a sugar substitute, is showing up in more sugar free gums and candies all the time. It is extremely toxic to dogs, causing severe issues in blood sugar regulation.
Provide a “safe haven” for your pet. Frequent guests in unusual costumes at your door can be quite stressful to our pets. Providing a safe hideout in a quiet, comfortable room or crate away from the activity can offer security to our furry friends and help avoid conflict.
Be sure that your pet has appropriate identification. Holidays are a common time for pets to become lost or wander off. Because of the unusual sights and activities, they can easily run out of fear. It is always a good idea to have identification in the form of a collar and tags - or better yet, permanent ID with a microchip, to assure they are more easily reunited with their family.
Use care when dressing your pet in costumes. While many pets do not mind being dressed for the occasion, some are less enthused or even anxious about costumes. It is important to carefully read your pet’s body language to pick up on cues that they are stressed. Crouching, tail-tucking, ears back or reluctance to move may indicate your pet would rather not participate in the activity. A stressed or anxious pet is more likely to bite or hurt someone out of fear.
The Alexandria Animal Hospital team would like to wish you and your pets a safe and happy Halloween! We hope these tips will help you and your pets have an enjoyable and stress-free holiday. For more great tips, check out this infographic from Fear Free Pets.