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Halloween Hazards

2nd Oct 2021

Halloween can be a pretty frightening time for our pets.

We may enjoy the ghoulish decorations and costumes, but all these new noises, shapes, and surprises can be difficult for our pets to understand. 

With all the excitement around at this time of year it’s easy to overlook potential hazards, leaving pets vulnerable. 
Keep your pets safe this Halloween with the following tips...

Treats

It's really important to keep treats in pet-proof containers and rubbish in a secure bin.
There are many foods we eat that can be dangerous to pets. 

  • Whilst we love chocolate, it poses a significant toxic hazard to dogs and cats. In general the higher the cocoa content the more toxic the chocolate.

  • Xylitol can be found in sugar free products i.e. chewing gum and ready meals. Xylitol causes an increase in insulin followed by a drop in blood sugar and hypoglycaemia.
     
  • Onions are included in many of our favourite foods, and these can cause issues with the red blood cells leading to anaemia. This includes all of the onion family - leeks, chives, and spring onions are also dangerous.

  • The whole grape family (raisins, sultanas, dried or fresh) can affect dogs' kidneys but symptoms aren’t always visible until it’s too late.

  • The food we throw away will always be tempting to pets, but mouldy food is particularly dangerous as it can contain mycotoxins especially in dairy products and bread. 

Decorations

Naked flames, wagging tails and whiskers don’t mix well. Candle decorations, glowsticks, ribbons, sequins and beads should all be kept out of reach of inquisitive pets who might burn or choke on such items.

Outfits

Dressing up your pets can be fun and fabulous, but could mean they struggle to behave normally - causing disorientation, stress and panic. If your pet looks stressed or uncomfortable in an outfit, don't do it!

Safety Den

  • Walk your dog before it gets dark. 

  • Keep pets indoors on nights where there may be lots of activity outside such as fireworks and trick-or-treaters.

    • If your cat usually has access to the outdoors, they may not be used to being forced to stay indoors. If your cat appears to be unhappy, spend some quality time with them. Don't force your cat to cuddle you if they are clearly scared. A cat pheromone diffuser may help. It might work to keep your cat in a room far away from the front door, or let them hide away wherever they feels safe, and don’t try and tempt them out from hiding. If you plan on having a Halloween party at your home, consider keeping your cat in a confined room that no one will access. This will ensure that your cat is safe and won’t accidentally be allowed out by a careless party guest.

    • Building a den for your pet gives them somewhere to hide when they feel worried. Prepare the den a few weeks before so that your pet can get used to it. Allow your pet free access to the den and do not force them to use it. This could be their bed or crate, but make sure it is away from front windows or the door.

  • Your doorbell will be ringing more than normal on Halloween night, so plan ahead. It may not be a good idea to let your pet greet trick-or-treaters as ghoulish outfits might scare your pet, and visitors may not know how to act appropriately around pets.

    • Try to stick to your pet's routine as much as possible and provide them with lots of things to keep them busy, quiet and happy. Stuff a Kong to keep dogs occupied, and have some ready made for your dog when you are answering the door.
       
    • Separate your pet from the entrance to your home by using a stair gate (if they are used to it), or keeping an internal door closed.

    • Be cautious when opening the door to any trick-or-treaters, just in case your cat tries to make a run for it.
       
  • If your pet is really worried by people and may not cope with trick-or-treaters coming to the door, you could put a sign on your gate saying ‘Nervous dog. Please don’t knock on the door. Please take sweets from the box.' and leave a sealed box of treats in the garden for children.

  • Don’t punish or get angry with your pet. Reward your pet's good behaviour. If your pet is naughty, this may be because they are worried and reacting to very different experiences to those they are used to. 

 

Stay Safe

Despite our best efforts, accidents can still happen. If you spot your pet behaving strangely, or they start to display symptoms that you are worried about, e.g. being unsteady on their feet, vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties or seizures... call us immediately on 01858 462 839