Halloween is meant to be spooky but do you know which traditions might be too scary for your pup or pussy cat?
As the popularity of Halloween grows in Australia we explore the dangers for dogs and cats, plus how to avoid them!
There are a host of frightfully funny sights and sounds for Halloween, especially for pet lovers, but many common trick-or-treat activities aren’t so entertaining for our fur babies.
They can cause pet panic attacks, pancreatitis and even poisoning, but never fear – we have a handy checklist which will arm you against terrifying surprises to keep your pets safe and secure.
HALLOWEEN CHOCOLATE IS TOXIC TO DOGS
Chocolate might be the number one goal for kids trick-or-treating but chocolate is also highly toxic to dogs and cats.
Chocolate contains cocoa which contains the component called theobromine which is toxic to our furry friends.
Humans can easily metabolise theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.
If your dog or cat has ingested chocolate, even a small amount, you should contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
Vets can usually treat chocolate poisoning by inducing vomiting and with supportive therapy in hospital but it is important to seek veterinary attention quickly.
HOW TO AVOID: Make sure to always read your labels and remember that dogs and cats have great noses which can sniff out chocolate in bags or under pets.
The RSPCA advises it is important not to give your pets any chocolate and to ensure they cannot accidentally access any of your chocolate supplies.
CANDLES AND DÉCOR ARE HALLOWEEN DANGERS
Candles which are placed on a table, TV cabinet, bookcase or inside carved pumpkins are approximately pet height.
Scented delights like candles may be enticing to your dogs and they may want to investigate with their nose or paws.
As well as potentially causing harm to your four-legged family members, there is also a potential fire-risk.
HOW TO AVOID: Whether your candles and décor are big or small, any item which has an open flame should be kept well away from dogs and cats.
Remember this simple rhyme: “Wagging tails and glowing wicks; these are things that never mix”
FESTIVE HALLOWEEN FOOD AND DRINKS
Halloween is a great time to have friends and family over for a themed party or scary movie binge-watching session, but it is important to set firm house rules when it comes to feeding the furry family members.
As mentioned, chocolate is not good for your pets but there are a variety of other foods and drinks that can give your pooch an upset stomach or be fatal.
Caffeine can very dangerous and can be found in a variety of foods such as pumpkin-spiced lattes, mulled tea, hot cocoa, soda, coffee and even coffee grounds.
Also, feeding high-fat treats and trimmings from the dinner scraps could prompt sudden pancreatitis flare-ups.
Alcohol is a big no-no. Though some may think it’s cute to let your pet have a few slurps of beer even a minute amount of alcoholic beverages can lead to digestive upset, liver issues or organ damage.
HOW TO AVOID: Keep dangerous food and drink items far from curious noses.
Have set house rules for feeding your pets, and make your guests aware to not give their scraps to the pets no matter how many cute looks they give you.
For a non-alcoholic pet friendly drink, let your pup or kitten party the night away with a broth-based, meat flavoured pet beverage.
Learn more about which food to avoid for pet here - 10 Dangerous Human Foods For Your Pet.
TERRORIFYING DOORBELLS RINGING AND DOOR KNOCKING
The loud, abrupt noise that indicated the entry of unfamiliar strangers can be at the top of a pets terror list and it’s not hard to understand any this might be upsetting.
Pets may associate the familiar “ding-dong” or “knock-knock” of the front door with something dire and cause an increased risk of anxiety.
HOW TO AVOID: If you are having a large gathering with people coming and going, you may wish to book a pet minding at the sitter’s home or day care.
If your pet is staying at home, you may wish to consider swaddling (or a thunder jacket) to relieve excess anxiety, and make sure they have a safe place to retreat to.
Recognized Soviet physiologist Dr. Konstantin Buteyko and his colleagues have explained that swaddling can ease and prevent hyperventilation from the upper chest area.
It creates a sort of systemic feedback loop: Breathing begins to issue from the lower diaphragm; smaller volumes of air are inhaled; and overall respiration slows to create a calmed feeling.
TRICK-OR-TREATERS & STRANGE GUESTS CAN BE FRIGHTENING
Pets, particularly dogs, will instinctively guard their own territory from strangers and visitors.
It can be extremely upsetting when an endless parade of giggling ghosts, goblins and ghouls visit, or worse yet, head into your house.
The loud music, strangers and strobing lights of Halloween can cause anxiety and panicky pets may bolt out the front door getting lost, abducted and even hit by a car.
If you are hosting Halloween parties in your own, big or small, be extra-sensitive to your pet’s needs.
HOW TO AVOID: In pronounced cases of anxiety, you may wish to book an overnight stay with a pet reputable pet sitter to keep your fur baby calm and happy with a reassuring break.
If your pet is staying at home its best and safest to let your pet hunker down in a secure, quiet room away from the commotion.
Make sure to keep the number for your local vet and emergency clinic on hand so if anything unexpected happens these contacts will be on hand.
Wishing you and your fur kids a safe, secure and ghoulishly good time this Halloween
– Sent with love from the PetCloud Family.