Toil and trouble: 4 Halloween safety tips

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Humans and pets alike enjoy Halloween: the late night, going out after dark, the fun costumes, the general air of excitement. Here’s how to ensure the spooky holiday stays fun for your fur babies – and doesn’t become a nightmare.

How to trick-or-treat safely
Trick-or-treating can be stressful for your pets in a few ways: they may have anxiety meeting strangers or hearing the doorbell, they may encounter small children who pull tails and poke eyes, they may be overwhelmed by the sounds and smells. But whether you have a high-stress pet or an easygoing one, you can still participate in the trick-or-treating fun.

If you’re staying home with anxious pets, try keeping them in a room far from the front door, preferably in a place where their “safe space” is available to them, whether that be a kennel or closet to retreat to, or a bed to hide under. Leave favorite blankets and toys with them, or their fur buddy, if you have more than one pet. Consider giving them a special treat, such as a new toy or chew, to keep them occupied.

You can take it a step further by handing out treats from your garage or driveway to ensure the doorbell doesn’t ring at all!

Staying home with fur babies who love other humans? You should still take precautions, such as keeping a pet gate up in your doorway to keep curious trick-or-treaters at a safe distance, prevent anyone from zooming out the door, and to make sure kiddos at the door aren’t afraid of your dog.

If you’re venturing out with your dog, be sure you use a secure leash and harness, and get your dog microchipped before Halloween. Put ID tags on the dog’s collar, too. Be certain your dog is friendly toward children, adults, and other animals, and keep an eye on people, especially children, who approach your pooch. You don’t want anyone’s tail pulled, or a germaphobe’s face licked!

Want to go door-to-door, but worried about leaving your anxious animals home alone? Turn off the porch light or hang a (respectful!) sign to alert trick-or-treaters that you aren’t handing out candy. Leave your pets in their safe space, indoors, just in case you get a couple of hopefuls ringing the doorbell anyway.

Treats for you, tricks for your pets
Many Halloween treats are toxic for your pets, including sugar-free candies, gum, chocolate, and raisins. Small toys that make their way from your kids’ pumpkin buckets to the floor are also dangers, as they pose a choking hazard.

Keep all the candy out of reach of your pets, whether that means in a cabinet, on top of a fridge, in a pantry, or on top of the table. Store candy in a container with a lid so if a crafty cat does find it on top of a cabinet, it’s still impossible to get into it.

If your pet ingests any Halloween candy, give Chisholm Trail Veterinary Clinic of New Braunfels a call right away. It’s best to call us and not need us, than to need us and not call.

Scary decorations
Halloween decorations are meant to spook people, but they could pose a real danger to your pets. That includes:

  • Real candles in jack-o’-lanterns
  • Batteries (if chewed)
  • Cords in yards
  • Items that make loud noises that could spook your pet

Keep your pets separate from your carved pumpkins. If you’re venturing out with your dog, make sure he doesn’t chew on any stray cords and that his harness and leash are secure in case of loud sounds.

Claws-trophobic costumes
Whether your pet wears a costume without complaint or shakes it off at the first opportunity, keep a constant eye on them. You don’t want your dog walking around with a paw stuck in a neck hole, or your cat ingesting fabric after chewing himself loose. Stay away from dyes and hair sprays meant for human use, and from small accessories that could pose choking hazards.

There’s no reason your fur babies can’t get into the spooky spirit, as long as you take some steps to keep them safe and happy.

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