How to have a safe Halloween with your cat or dog

Whether it's things that go bump in the night or things that go bang in the sky, Halloween can be a stressful time for pets and their owners.

Halloween is one of the best times of the year, from the fancy dress and sweets to spooky, scary skeletons and fantastic decorations. In recent years the tradition has been increasing in popularity in the UK, but this is making it a little bit harder for pet owners.

The festivities, decorations and food all pose hazards to pets. However, you can have a pet-friendly Halloween by following the tips below.

Hide sweets and chocolate

This is one of the big ones. As pet owners, we’re all aware of the danger that sweets and chocolate in the home can bring for our pets. It used to be just Christmas and Easter when this was a concern, but now the hazard has spread to Halloween.

On Halloween, you’ll no doubt have an increased amount of human treats in the home, either for a children’s party, trick or treating, or for the little ghosts and ghouls who come knocking on your door. Just like at Christmas, it’s important that you keep these out of the way of your pet as they can be extremely toxic to cats and dogs. This is because they are unable to metabolise the theobromine in sweet foods the same way that humans can.

Vets say the smaller your cat or dog is, the more dangerous it is for them to consume these foods. If you find that your pet has eaten any sweets or chocolate, contact your vet immediately for advice.

Take care with decorations

Halloween decorations are one of the most entertaining aspects of the whole holiday and some people really know how to decorate. However, if you’re a dog or cat owner, it’s imperative that you take extra care when decorating your own home to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

First off, you need to ensure that any electrical wires are hidden or, ideally, completely out of reach of pets to minimise the dangers of these being chewed. It’s also important to ensure any spooky jack-o’-lanterns, lit with candles, are nowhere near your animals and that any small choking hazards are placed safely out of reach.

Fake cobwebs can be a real choking hazard, so take extra care when you’re looking to spread some Halloween fear. After all, the health and safety of your pet should be paramount.

Leave your pet at home

At Halloween you’ll see plenty of creatures of the night wandering up and down the street. While this may be cute and entertaining for us, it may not be the same for your dog or cat. Dogs should definitely be kept inside and even though your cat can probably take care of itself, it’s not worth risking any undue stress or anxiety, so it’s best to keep them in, too.

A good way to prepare your outdoor cat for the upcoming night is to keep them indoors a few times prior to Halloween so they become used to it. Again, shutting in an outdoor cat could lead to increased stress in your pet, so it’s best to do it gradually.

If you’re in for the night, you can alleviate the effects of the inevitable noise outside on your pet in various ways. Plugging in a diffuser that mimics soothing pheromones, playing a bit of music or having the TV on, for example, can help.

Do you have any other safety tips? Let us know your stories and top tips on Facebook and Instagram, using the tag #PethoodStories.

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