Keep your pet safe and away from the Halloween treats this autumn.
The nights are drawing in, the temperature has dropped and the supermarkets are piled high with pumpkins. Autumn is well and truly upon us, and Halloween is just around the corner.
While it’s a fun time of year with ghoulish costumes, trick or treaters and of course lots of sweets, your pets might not share your sense of excitement. Follow our Halloween survival tips to help you keep your cats and dogs safe throughout the spooky festivities.
Keep Halloween treats out of paws’ reach
If you’re stocking up for those inevitable knocks at the door, make sure you keep the sweets away from your pets.
Chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic to cats and dogs. It acts as a stimulant, increasing their heart rate and as a diuretic, which increases loss of body fluids, both of which can be fatal. Some sweets contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is particularly dangerous and often fatal, it is particularly common in chewing gum and some peanut butters.
It’s not just the chemicals which can cause a problem - the wrappers can become lodged in your pet’s throat too.
Keep Halloween decorations away from pets
Spooky decorations might look fun for your visitors but they’re a magnet for cats and dogs who just love to play with bright, colourful dangly things. But if they end up chewing them it could cause a gut blockage or worse. Keep the decorations out of reach and give them a pet safe chew or scratch toy instead.
What happens if my cat or dog eats some pumpkin
While pumpkin isn’t exactly part of your pet’s usual diet it won’t cause them any harm. In fact, a little pumpkin puree is a great pre-biotic, helping to populate the gut with good bacteria. It can also help clear up diarrhoea if your dog or cat is suffering.
In addition, pumpkin is packed with vitamins, and contains beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants. It’s rich in potassium and other minerals, and makes a great low calorie treat for your pet.
Dangers of lit candles
Candles may create that perfect eerie glow inside an expertly carved pumpkin but keep them out of reach of curious pets who can burn their noses if they get too close. Better still, swap out the real candles for battery-operated ones to create the same spooky glow without the risk.
When to walk your dog
Try and walk your dog earlier in the day before the trick or treaters are out in force. Garish costumes and loud noises from parties can be stressful for your dog, especially if they’re of a nervous disposition.
Cats tend to do their own thing but encourage them to come indoors before it gets dark by bringing their dinner time forward or offering them a tasty treat. Once they’re in make sure you lock their cat flap and have a litter tray ready for them just in case.
Opening the door to trick or treaters
If you’re joining in the Halloween spirit and expecting people at your door it’s important to keep pets away. Some animals are simply not used to lots of unfamiliar visitors so it’s often easier to leave the sweets outside and let the ghouls and ghosts help themselves. If you do want to meet and greet, make sure your pet is tucked away in another room and not near your open front door.
How to relieve pet stress
If your pet gets anxious it’s a great idea to create a cosy den away from any noise where they can enjoy some peace and quiet. Line it with a soft blanket and add in a favourite chew toy or treat.
Try and stick to a regular routine for food and security as well as make an extra fuss of them. Exercise can also be a great tension reliever so give them extra attention and play time – if walking is out of the question because it’s simply too busy outside, a home game of fetch or tug of war with their favourite toy can be a great way to make them forget about any troubling noises.
Halloween is a fun time for everyone. With the right amount of planning and prep you can still enjoy the night while keeping your pets safe too.