Keeping your pet safe during Halloween

The nights are getting shorter, leaves are falling from the trees and pumpkins have started to spring up in dark windows. Halloween is on its way, and it’s a fun time for the whole family! Things will look a bit different this year due to lockdown restrictions, but we can still get into the spirit of things with pumpkin carving, tasty treats and dressing up. 

If you have a pet at home, it’s worth considering how you can make October as safe as possible for them. There are plenty of hazards around, even if you’re having Halloween at home this year, so read ahead to find out how you can keep your pets as safe and calm as possible.

Cat with family on Halloween

Don’t share your sweets

One of the best parts of Halloween is the food! Pumpkin flavoured treats and cauldrons full of sweets fill the house, especially if trick or treating or a small gathering is on the cards. While it’s okay for us to overindulge, it’s never a good idea to give your pet sugary snacks.

After all, the bowl of sweets is for trick or treaters, not your cat or dog! A lot of these types of foods can be toxic to animals, particularly treats that contain chocolate. You should get in touch with your vet immediately if your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t.

You can help your pet feel included with some dog and cat friendly treats, such as Natures Menu Real Meat Treats for dogs or cats.

Be careful with costumes

From vampire fangs to witches fingers, there are lots of ways we can get in the Halloween spirit with a bit of fancy dress. If you’re having a Zoom Halloween party this year or your little one has fancy dress day at school, it can be fun for everyone – and it can seem like a fun idea to get your pet involved too. Especially if you see your friends and family’s pets dressed up on social media!

But it’s important to remember that putting your pet in a costume, especially if they’re small, can be hazardous and uncomfortable for them. It can cause them a lot of stress if they don’t like it, and some pets might chew or swallow smaller parts of a costume which can cause stomach upset or even choking. A costume with lots of complex components can cause injury to your pet too, especially if they try to wiggle out of it. 

So if you’re considering dressing your pet up this Halloween, have your pet try their costume on to see if they are happy to wear it. It’s best to keep it simple, so why not try a pair of lightweight bat wings or a spooky jumper instead of anything too over the top!

Decoration danger

If going all out with decorations is your favourite part of Halloween, you’re not alone. Spiders webs, paper bats and jack-o-lanterns are great for setting a spooky scene and are mostly safe to have around the house. Be wary of where you put your decor though, particularly if you have cats that like to explore your surfaces or a large dog with an energetic tail!

Your pet might easily knock over a pumpkin and start a fire in your home if it isn’t kept out of reach, or if they’re a fan of chewing, you might find that they take a liking to the new, exciting things in your house that they can reach.

The best approach is to keep your decor well out of the way of curious pets and closely monitor them when candles are lit. It’s fun to decorate your home but keeping health and safety at the forefront is essential for a happy Halloween.

Encourage calm

Any big occasion has the potential to cause stress to your pet. Halloween is no exception, and can be especially scary if you have lots of trick or treaters or have a small gathering at home. The music, decorations, big costumes and activities can cause distress if your pet is used to a peaceful environment. 

It’s a good idea to put your pet in a safe, quiet place in your house with their bed, toys, food and water to keep them occupied and away from the commotion. You could also consider giving your pet a calming supplement, such as Zylkene Calming Capsules for Cats and Dogs

Neil’s top tips:

  • Don’t leave your dog or cat home alone during peak trick or treating hours. They will find comfort in you being with them if the door is knocking, and you can help minimise their stress.
  • Make sure your pet is microchipped and all their details are up to date. If the door is opening and closing often, they might slip out onto the street. Should the worst happen, an updated microchip will give you and your pet the best chance of being reunited. 
  • If you have visitors for Halloween and you’ve put your pet in a safe, comfortable place, be sure to pop in to visit them regularly to soothe them and give them some attention.