Halloween is fast-approaching, and many of us are busy planning what costumes to wear, how to decorate our houses, and how much chocolate to order for the trick or treaters. Lots of us like to include the whole family in our Halloween plans, and this includes dressing up our pets for the occasion. However, if we are going to be giving our furry friends a spooky makeover, it’s very important to do so in a safe manner.
Dr. Sarah Machell, Medical Director for Vetster, a digital platform which connects licensed vets with pet owners virtually, shares her five top tips on how to have a safe Halloween with your pet:
- Dressing your pet safely
It has become a popular trend to buy or make your pet a costume for Halloween as it’s a great way to get into the spirit. However, it’s crucial to keep your pet’s comfort and safety in mind. When choosing a costume, ensure it won’t pose any choking hazards or mobility restrictions. Try to avoid costumes that have elastic bands or block your pet’s vision. Also, be mindful of costumes with sound effects as certain noises, such as bells and screams, can frighten your pet. Lastly, if you are going to dress your pet up this Halloween, make sure they are always supervised so you can monitor if they’re unhappy or in distress at any stage.
- Protect your pet
Halloween is often considered a fun time of the year, but loud parties, unusual noises, unfamiliar visitors, and loud bangs might mean it is a scary night for your pet. Frequent knocks at the door from costumed trick or treaters may cause your pet to become anxious or stressed – this extends to rabbits, cats, and dogs, among others. Consider how your dog usually acts when you have visitors at the door and take extra precautions to keep your pet calm and in an allocated place where they feel comfortable and safe throughout the evening. Make sure your pet has their ID tag on throughout the evening, just in case they suddenly run out the door when a trick or treater comes knocking.
- Keep your pet away from chocolate
For this holiday, everyone stocks up on chocolate and sweets to hand out to trick or treaters. However, remember chocolate is poisonous for many pets including dogs, rodents, rabbits and cats. Keep the chocolate stash in a cupboard or on a high shelf where your pets won’t be able to get their paws on it. If you have kids, inform them of the dangers so they are aware and don’t make the mistake of feeding your pet chocolate. If your pet does happen to consume Halloween treats and becomes sick, make sure that you contact a professional vet – consider using a platform such as Vetster for speed and ease.
- Pet-friendly decorations
Even as humans we can get spooked out by certain Halloween decorations, so imagine how our pets must feel. Avoid lighting candles around the house or in pumpkins as they might be toppled over by wagging tails or curious cats. Alternatively, make sure that the candles are far away from their reach or replace them with battery powered lights. If you love going all out on decorations, be mindful of rattling skeletons or motion-active decorations as they can terrify your pet. Keep the decorations at a high level so your pet can’t see it, or only switch them on when your pet isn’t around.
- Be organised
It’s crucial to be organised during the spooky season as it can be an overwhelming time for your pet. Walk your dog in the daytime instead of the evenings to avoid trick-or-treaters. Fireworks are a popular tradition around Halloween and can cause your pet to feel stressed or anxious, so be as prepared as possible. Put a thick blanket around them so they can bury themselves to drown out the noises, keep the TV or music on and close the curtains.