I love Halloween. Not sure why – probably the pumpkins and the dogs and cats in cool outfits. Well, even Nala, Beth’s feline friend will be dressing up. Halloween presents a number of safety issues for dogs and cats. Here’s a few tips in no particular order to keep our dogs and cats in DC safe.
The front door escape artist: Halloween, after the Fourth of July, is the most common time for pets to become lost. You will be opening the door many times and paying attention to the trick-or-treaters at the door – admiring their Shrek costumes. In the interim, it is easy for the dog or cat to dash outside, many times unnoticed. It is best to keep your dogs or cats in a closed room away from the front door.
Microchips: Being a former shelter veterinarian, I cannot stress enough the importance of having your pet microchipped. If he or she was to get outside and become spooked, you want the best chance of getting him or her back home as soon as possible. Nearly every shelter and mot vets have microchip scanners and can facilitate getting the two of you reunited as soon as possible. Please talk to us at District Veterinary Hospital about microchips! You can walk in anytime for this service.
Candy! Candy! Candy!: Who doesn’t like Mike and Ikes? But be wary, the dog does, too. Keep all candy far out of reach of the dog, and even cats. Dark chocolate may cause severe problems if ingested as well as many sugar-free candies. Candy without sugar is generally flavored with xylitol, which can cause dogs blood sugar to drop dangerously low and may also cause liver damage.
Pumpkins and corn: The dog eating too much pumpkin can cause intestinal upset and diarrhea. Eating corncobs may result in intestinal obstruction, requiring emergency surgery to correct.
Keep your cat indoors for a few days: Black cats in particular should not be allowed outside for a few days before and a few days after the holiday. Put simply – not everyone is nice to black cats, especially at this time of year. Many shelters do not adopt out black cats in late October as a safety precaution.
Dressing your pug as Shrek: Please be aware that although the cat may look adorable as a bumblebee, the cat may disagree. If your pet is uncomfortable or struggles at all, take off the costume. Also, please be wary of any buttons, loose cords or thread or anything that the pet may ingest. And NEVER leave your pet unattended in a costume for any length of time. Please also be cautious that the costume doesn’t cause your friend to overheat.
The walks with the kids: Although Fido may enjoy walks, consider not bringing him or her trick-or-treating. As above, there are a lot of scary things going on for dogs and he or she may easily be spooked. You may also encounter other spooked dogs, setting up a potentially unpleasant situation.
Candles and decorations: Halloween is scary enough without your cat lighting his or her tail on fire. I have personally seen this happen. Be careful of all holiday decorations, especially jack-o’-lanterns with candles – these may easily be knocked over, causing harm to your pet and potentially causing a fire. Decorations that make noise or have flashing lights or fast movements may frighten pets as well. As with winter holidays, be wary of stringed lights and all electrical cords, dogs or cats may chew on them or get tangled in them.