Five simple tips and a fun recipe for a safe and healthy holiday for your pet
A bumblebee, a pirate or a lion? What will your pet be for Halloween? With anticipated retail sales of nearly $9 billion on costumes, candy and decorations, it’s clear that Halloween is one of Americans’ favorite holidays. And it’s also clear that people love sharing the holiday with their pets.
The most popular costumes for pets? The National Retail Federation (NRF) provides this year’s top 10:
- Pumpkin – 11.2%
- Hot dog – 7.4%
- Bumble bee – 4.9%
- Devil – 3.2%
- Cat – 3.1%
- Dog – 3.1%
- Lion – 2.9%
- Star Wars character – 2.8%
- Super hero – 2.7%
- Ghost – 2.5%
Petland wants to make sure pets and their owners have a safe and happy Halloween. Here are some simple tips to make sure the only thing spooky about your Halloween are the goblins and ghouls knocking on your door.
- KEEP PETS SECURE AND SAFE DURING TRICK OR TREAT
While we may love the sights and sounds of Halloween, our pets may feel differently. Strange and unusual sights and sounds can scare your pet. Petland recommends that you keep your pet inside, out of harm’s way. If your pet scares easily during storms or fireworks, follow the same procedure you would for those situations, whether it be anti-anxiety remedies, a quiet room or a compression jacket, like a Thundershirt. It’s also a good idea to put a safety gate up to keep pets from escaping when trick or treaters knock on the door.
If you plan on walking your pet outside on Halloween, Petland asks responsible pet owners to remember a few key safety tips.
- Keep your pet on a shorter than normal leash to protect them from crowds of children and other pets.
- Walk your pets during daylight hours or after Trick or Treating is over.
- Make sure the pet has a proper ID tag.
- Watch for Jack O’Lanterns lit with a candle as pets can easily knock them over and get burned.
- Watch for candy wrappers on the ground as these can be a chocking hazard.
- Keep glow sticks out of reach of your pets. The inside material is hazardous and could burn the mouths of dogs or cats that think they are a toy.
- KEEP AN EYE ON DECORATIONS
Halloween is often a time of spooky and fun decorations. If you have pets, please keep in mind where you are placing your decorations, keeping them out of reach from your four-legged friends. Pets are curious by nature and want to sniff and explore new things. Keep an eye on candles too!
- SUPERVISE COSTUMED PETS
A pumpkin, a hot dog, a bumblebee and a Star Wars character top the list for most popular pet threads, but many people get pretty creative with their pet’s costume.
Even though pet owners love to dress up their pets all year round, the costumes are often a little more elaborate during Halloween. Petland says to pay close attention to your pets while they are dressed up to avoid any harm. It’s best to keep them in the costume for small periods of time, where they can be supervised.
“Make sure the costume fits well and is not too tight. It’s also important that your pet can see and walk unrestricted. Avoid using tight elastics like rubber bands. These products can restrict blood flow and become tangled in the fur,” said Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland’s director of public affairs. “Most importantly, never leave a costumed pet alone. Your pet may chew on the outfit. If pieces of a costume are ingested, this can make the pet very ill. They can also get tangled in ribbons or ties and hurt themselves. And, if you see that your pet is stressed, it’s best to remove the costume.”
- PROTECT YOUR BLACK KITTY
Cats have been given many mystical powers through the years. History and superstition have linked felines to witchcraft, making the cat the most likely pet to be talked about on October 31. Specifically, the black cat is a black mark according to many cultural superstitions.
Petland reminds people to keep this in mind as unfortunately, these beliefs can cause people to make bad choices, including harming a pet at Halloween.
“If you own a black cat, be mindful of Halloween activities,” said Kunzelman. “If you see anyone abusing a pet this Halloween, please contact the proper local authorities.”
OFFER SAFE TREATS, KEEP CHOCOLATE AWAY
Chocolate makes up about three-quarters of a trick-or-treater’s loot, according to the National Confectioners Association. With the large amount of candy in many homes during Halloween, Petland says that pet owners should not share any candy, especially chocolate, with their furry friends, as it can be toxic to both cats and dogs.
Chocolate contains theobromine. It is a substance that is easily digested by humans, but can, in large quantities, be fatal to pets. Ten ounces of milk chocolate and even less of unsweetened baking chocolate can qualify as a lethal dose for small pets, especially those weighing 20 pounds or less.
Symptoms such as severe stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing and even seizures can strike a pet after ingesting chocolate. Call your vet if your pet has eaten any chocolate and is experiencing any of these symptoms.
By following these easy pet care guidelines, Halloween can be fun and safe for all members of your family.
Director of Public Affairs