Howling for Halloween!

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many families. Time to get into fun costumes, set up spooky decorations and, of course, go trick-or-treating in order to get the biggest candy stash in the neighborhood! Over the years, pets have become increasingly involved with holidays, and Halloween is no exception. There are pet costumes galore, pet costume parades, spooky-themed pet treats, and more.

However, this is a good time to remind yourselves that, just as with most other holidays, Halloween can present all sorts of hazards and threats to your dog or cat, if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can take precautions and ensure the whole family (including four-legged members) are having a fantastically spooky time!

Two of the biggest hazards during Halloween are candy and decorations. Chocolate and xylitol (common ingredients in many forms of sugary and even sugar-free treats) can be quite toxic to animals, especially if consumed in high quantities. Whenever you have candy lying around, be sure to keep it out of reach of any sniffing snouts or slobbering tongues. Kids may be tempted to share their candy with the family dog, but make sure they know to avoid this. Instead, provide some pet-friendly treats that can be handed out–and maybe keep a small bowl of these by the front door in case any trick-or-treaters arrive with a pet in tow.

Many Halloween decorations involve filmy strings or gauze (like with spiderwebs). If you must decorate with such, be sure to place it up high so dogs and cats can’t reach it and accidentally ingest or otherwise get tangled in it.

And, of course, we must address pet costumes. It’s certainly adorable to see your pup in a shark costume or dress your cat up like the princess you know she is. But be sure that the costume fits comfortably–too tight, and you might restrict your pet’s ability to breathe. Check that the costume doesn’t have any parts that could easily be chewed off or swallowed, and that it doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight or hearing. When your pet is wearing its outfit, keep an eye on it for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, lethargy, or drinking too much water.

Lastly, the safest thing to do is keep your pet inside during Halloween. This reduces the risk of them potentially being frightened by strangers and running off, or getting into other people’s candy stashes when you aren’t looking.

Are you going to dress your pet up for Halloween? What steps will you take to ensure all your four-legged family members enjoy this delightful frightful holiday without harming their health?

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