Halloween Stress and Safety Tips from PetStress.com: How to Keep Pets Safe from Harm on Halloween

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Halloween can be a fun-filled holiday but it can also be a little chaotic when pet owners are answering the door for Trick-or-Treaters, expecting party guests, or helping children with costumes. Keep pets safe from stress and harm by following five simple Halloween Pet Stress and Safety Tips:

Halloween can be a fun-filled holiday but it can also be a little chaotic if pet owners are answering the door for Trick-or-Treaters, expecting party guests, or helping children with costumes. Keep pets safe from stress and harm by following five simple Halloween Pet Stress and Safety Tips:

1.    Pet Costumes -- Pets may look cute in costumes but being dressed up can be both stressful and harmful for them. Pet owners should not dress up a pet unless he is comfortable being the center of attention and is physically comfortable and safe in his costume. A pet owner can dress the pet in a costume in advance and be sensitive to the pet's reaction. Make sure the costume:

  •     is comfortable, not too heavy and not stressful for the pet
  •     doesn't constrict the pet's movement when walking or climbing stairs
  •     doesn't constrict breathing, panting, barking or meowing.
  •     doesn't obstruct vision or muffle hearing
  •     doesn't have loose pieces (buttons, bows, sequins) that can be chewed off to pose choking hazards

2.    Trick or Treat Candy -- All candies and chocolate pose safety hazards for pets. Chocolate and candy with caffeine are dangerous. These products are made from cacao seeds which contain substances that if ingested by animals can cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, seizures and possibly death. Also, some candies and gums contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is dangerous for pets because it can lead to liver failure; the early signs are loss of muscle control and coordination, vomiting and lethargy. All candies and candy wrappers (cellophane, paper, and aluminum foil) are choking hazards for pets and are dangerous if ingested. Keep Halloween candy and children's Trick or Treat Bags safe and away from pets. Call a vet immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 888-426-4435 if there is a reaon to suspect a pet has ingested something he shouldn't.

3.    Halloween Pumpkins and Natural Decorations -- Pumpkins, gourds, decorative corn, and other vegetable decorations are non-toxic but can produce gastrointestinal upset and intestinal blockage in a pet. Carved pumpkins with lit candles are a hazard because it's easy for pets, especially frisky young puppies and kittens, to bump them. Don't use real candles in carved pumpkins to avoid burns to pets and the threat of fire in the home. Small battery-operated flashlights or lights are a safer choice for lighting carved pumpkins.

4.    Halloween Lights and Decorations -- Lights, decorations and wire cords present hazards for pets. Pets can receive life threatening electrical shocks from chewing through wires and a pet's mouth can be injured by pieces of plastic or glass.

5.    Trick-or-Treaters, Party Guests, and Other Visitors -- Keep pets in a separate room to minimize the stress caused by too many strangers and to reduce the risk of having a pet escape when opening the door for Trick-or-Treaters and guests. Make sure pets are wearing securely-fastened collars with up-to-date identification to increase the chance of the pet's safe return if he does escape.

Following these tips can insure that pets will have a safe and stress free Halloween night.

http://www.PetStress.com provides free tips and advice from nationally known animal behavior experts, and a place for pet owners to ask questions about pet behaviors that may be causing stress. PetStress.com also provides a forum for visitors to share concerns and questions, and read advice and stories from other pet owners.

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Cynthia Porter
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