Even though the Covid pandemic means that Halloween should be different than in other years, we still expect higher than normal levels of activity in neighbourhoods and fireworks. Here are some of our favorite Halloween tips to keep your pet calm during the festivities.
1. Halloween treats are for kids, not pets! Chocolate can be very dangerous and candies containing xylitol (the artificial sweetener) can cause problems. If you are handing-out treats, keep bowls and bags secure and away from pets. (FYI – this is a perfectly legitimate excuse for telling your kids to hand-over their treats! )
2. Put your pets a quiet, safe and secure place (not outside!) during peak trick or treating hours. The noise, surprises and activity that come with Halloween can be overwhelming for even the most social of dogs and cats. If your pets get particularly anxious around Halloween, talk to your Vet about using a mild sedative. There have been some great safe natural supplements made available in the past couple of years.
3. It’s a busy day, but if you can, find time earlier in the day to take your dog for a walk. An appropriately exercised dog is less anxious and less likely to get into trouble.
4. Re-think Halloween Pet Costumes. While a pet in a costume can be cute, it can also cause undue stress on the pet. If you are going to dress-up your pet, try the costume out a few nights before to ensure that the costume doesn’t agitate them and that it is safe, not restricting their ability to move, breathe, see, hear and bark/meow. If it does, then let your pet go ‘au naturale’ for the evening.
5. Pumpkins, candles and pets are not a good mixture. Pets can easily knock over a pumpkin and start a fire, and younger pets run a higher risk of their curiosity getting them burned.
6. Speaking of burns, wires and cords from Halloween lights and decorations pose a very serious burn/electrocution hazard for dogs and cats if chewed on.
7. Keep an eye on your pets to make sure that they don’t decide to nibble on your Halloween decorations like pumpkins, gourds or decorative corn. While not toxic, they could cause tummy upset and leave you cleaning-up a Halloween horror the next day.
8. Keep cats inside on the days leading-up to, and following Halloween. Sadly, at this time of year cats can be a target for pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. Keep them inside. Keep them safe.
9. Update your pet ID! This week is a great opportunity to ensure that your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a tattoo, collar and tags, and/or a microchip can greatly increase the chance of a happy reunion.
We hope that you have a happy and safe Halloween!