As much fun as the holiday is for humans, it's important to be aware of some major Halloween dangers for pets. Owners of black cats, in particular, need to consider their pet's safety on this fun-filled night.
Halloween Dangers for Black Cats
As an iconic symbol of Halloween, black cats have evoked a great deal of superstition for many centuries. Unfortunately, even today, unsavory individuals kidnap cats around Halloween for sacrifices or to use as live Halloween décor. Although some experts state that there is no evidence supporting these claims, many owners of black cats still choose to take extra safety measures.
- Keep your black cat indoors -- not just on Halloween, but several days leading up to the holiday.
- Have them microchipped or update your information connected with their chip.
- If your cat must go out, improve their visibility to cars with a reflective collar.
Although many shelters refuse to adopt out black cats throughout the month of October, some rescues actually use this opportunity to promote these adoptions. Statistically, black cats take an average of six days longer to be adopted than cats of other colors or markings. So, if you're considering adopting a cat, October may be the perfect month to rescue a sweet, black kitty.
Halloween Safety Precautions for All Pets
Costumes, décor, and trick-or-treaters -- oh my! There's a great deal of change and excitement surrounding All Hallows' Eve. Therefore, it's important to begin thinking about your pet's safety in the weeks and days leading up to this spooky holiday.
Introduce Halloween Décor Slowly
Some pets are very sensitive to their environments and may react if abrupt changes are made. If your cat or dog is one to urinate on new items or become stressed if you so much as rearrange furniture, you'll need to think ahead. Remember, even the bravest pets can become frightened by large, spooky monsters.
After you bring your box of decorations down from the attic, leave it in a corner for your pet to smell. After a day or two, open the box and begin to remove decorations. Never force your pet to go near something that they're fearful of, but allow them to smell it if they go near. Be sure to reward them with treats and petting to create a positive experience surrounding the ornament. Finally, place the decoration in its desired location and see how your pet reacts. Move it as needed.
You can take the same approach with new items that you've purchased, as well. It might feel like a lot of work, but this method could potentially save Grandma's heirloom crocheted skeleton or an expensive inflatable yard fixture.
Supervise Pets in Costumes
Dressing your pet in an adorable costume is arguably the best part of the Halloween season. However, this fun project comes with some risks; therefore, it's important to keep your pet's safety at the top of your mind when choosing an outfit.
Make sure your pet's costume doesn't restrict their movement or cause them distress. If you plan to enter a costume contest or walk in a Halloween parade, try out the apparel prior to the event, as it might take your pet some time to get used to the way it feels.
Felines can be especially challenging to dress and may only tolerate an outfit for the duration of a photograph. Be mindful to never leave your pet alone in their costume as they could become tangled in it or even chew or eat pieces of the outfit.
Candles serve as a fire risk, particularly around mischievous pets. Ensure that any jack-o'-lanterns are away from table edges or other locations where a cat could knock them over. The floor may not be an ideal location either, as fur or whiskers can ignite if a pet walks too close to an open flame. At the end of the night, be sure to extinguish all candles.
Keep Treats Out of Reach
You're likely aware that chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs, but there are other sweet treats that pose a threat to your pets. Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute used in candies and gums that is highly toxic to pets. Even a small amount of xylitol can cause your pet's blood sugar to nosedive, resulting in tremors, seizures, organ failure, or death.
Even those treats that don't contain cocoa or xylitol can be harmful for your pet if they consume enough. Gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, diabetes, and pancreatitis are potential health consequences of high volumes of sugar consumption.
Confine Your Pet to a Safe Room
With the continuous ringing of the doorbell and shrieks of glee from tick-or-treaters, your cat or dog will likely become overstimulated. Plan to place them in a safe, quiet room for the evening. Draw the shades, put on some relaxing music, or turn the TV on to drown out the background noise. A favorite toy or interactive treat dispenser can help distract them from the commotion outside.
If you worry that your pet will become particularly anxious, you can talk to your veterinarian about an anti-anxiety or sedative medication. Many of these meds can be given an hour or two before the festivities begin and wear off after eight to 12 hours. Ask your vet several days or weeks beforehand, so you have an opportunity to do a trial run on your pet to make sure it's effective. Some animals do well with other calming methods, such as ThunderShirts (available for both cats and dogs), calming chews, or pheromone sprays.
Ensure All Pets Have Identification
Even if you do plan to keep your pet indoors on Halloween, there's always a risk that they could bolt and get lost. Ensure both dogs and cats -- even those that are strictly indoors -- have a microchip and collar with current ID.
Avoid Pet Dangers This Halloween
Halloween can and should be a happy holiday for all members of your family. By planning ahead and taking simple safety measures, you can protect your pets from whatever tricks or treats come your way.