How To Make Sure Your Pet is Safe on Halloween
It's the little things that you might not think of until it's too late.
You may think that you've got it all under control, but losing a pet or seeing your pet get harmed is not something that you ever PLAN to do. It happens in the blink of an eye.
So here are some important things to share with all of the pet owners in your life. Doesn't hurt to take a quick look at this list just to be on the safe side. Here's my advice and then we'll see what the experts have to add:
-- Make sure your pet is in a room with food and water (and wee wee pad/litter box) with the door shut and that everyone in your house knows to NOT OPEN THAT DOOR throughout the time frame that you are giving out Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters. The last thing you want is your dog or cat slipping through an open door and getting outside.
-- For some dogs, it is especially stressful and triggering to hear the doorbell ring or to sniff strangers who are coming too close to your front door. Perhaps you can provide them not only with a safe room to stay in while trick-or-treaters are out, but maybe you can soothe them by crating them or by providing room noise or music to block some of the noise of people coming and going.
-- Don't take your dog trick-or-treating with you. You may think that, since your dog loves to go for walks, it will be fun to have him with you. But keep in mind that any bizarre or strange costume or Halloween sound effect can actually not only cause stress on your dog, but can cause him to react in a way that could accidentally be harmful to another OR he could catch you off-guard and break free of his leash and get away.
-- If you do take your dog come out with you on Halloween for a walk or let your cat roam free, please make sure they have clear ID attached to them (and they should all be microchipped.)
-- Instruct your kids to not just reach out to pet a dog they see being walked in a neighborhood while they are in a costume. A dog that may usually be friendly might be freaked out by your kid's costume and you don't want any harm to come to your child.
-- If you usually let your cat roam outside, please (especially if it's a black cat) do not let that cat out of the house around Mischief Night or Halloween. There are one too many horror stories about bad people out there torturing black cats. Very, very sad but true.
-- Don't force a costume onto your pet if they clearly hate it. This is just plain mean.
-- Keep your kids' chocolate and candy that they have collected, as well as the candy that you are giving out on Halloween, away from your pets. Chocolate can be a real danger when ingested by your pet.
P.S. Did you know that black cats and black dogs have the most trouble getting adopted? So the next time you're searching for a pet to adopt, give our black furry friends more of your attention and consider bringing one of them home.
** See below for some cultures that find black cats to be the best of luck!
Okay now here's what the experts from Best Friends Animal Society have to add to my list:
-- It's not just chocolate, but xylitol (an ingredient often found in candy) that can be toxic if ingested by your pet.
-- If you have decorations up that required batteries or electricity, those wires, cords, and batteries can be deadly if chewed on by your pet.
-- Candlelight flames and cats DON'T MIX. (The day I adopted cats is the day I stopped using candles in my home.) If a cat gets spooked and starts running they can either knock over a candle to start a fire or set themselves on fire and then run around the house catching everything else on fire. A disaster that can and should be avoided by having a NO FLAMES rule in your home. Use a battery-operated tea light inside that jack-o-lantern.
-- Your kids' costumes could come with small or loose parts that, if accidentally ingested by your pet, could kill them. Eating that fake face paint probably isn't good for them either.
And, finally, Hannah Stember from Best Friends Animals shares some facts about black cats that are positive:
"Black cats are a symbol of good luck in Great Britain. A strange black cat’s arrival at a home signifies prosperity in Scotland. In Japan, it is said that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors. Fishermen’s wives would keep black cats in their homes because they believed the cats could protect their husbands at sea and bring them home safely. Sailors considered a black ship cat to be especially lucky."