Guest post by Kimberly Vermillion of Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA
Halloween is a spooky, fun holiday full of candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating. While humans might enjoy all sorts of sweets on All Hallows' Eve, we need to take extra precautions to protect our pets from harmful foods that could scare owners more than any monster would.
Here are some simple pet safety tips from the Arizona Animal Welfare League, the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona, to help keep your animals safe during this frightful night.
Keeping chocolate out of reach
This delicious sweet is unfortunately toxic for pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs as it contains chemicals that are harder for them to metabolize. Pets that digest chocolate can exhibit symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting, excessive urination, or a racing heart.
Owners also need to keep sugar-free candies out of reach because many contain sugar substitute xylitol which causes serious problems in pets and can be deadly even in small amounts.
Knowing which table scraps are toxic for animals
It can be so hard to not sneak food off our table to our pets, but experts say you should avoid doing this altogether. Dogs will learn to beg but worse, you could be feeding something that could cause them an upset stomach or be harmful to their health.
Our Thanksgiving staples often contain spices or ingredients that aren’t good for our pets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a special Thanksgiving treat for your pet instead. A simple treat you can make for your pets is mixing pure pumpkin puree with plain non-fat yogurt, pouring it into a mold tray, then freezing for a couple of hours.
The best thing you can do for your pet this holiday season is to keep all the candy out of reach this Halloween and when Thanksgiving comes around, keep them away from stuffing, turkey bones, and fatty foods, too.
Check your pet’s costume—be sure it’s not hindering sight or movement
Pets in costumes are just about the cutest thing ever, but when you’re picking out a costume for your pet you want to keep a few things in mind first. If your furry companion tends to be anxious, then a costume might overwhelm them, so a festive bandana might be the way to go. If you know your pet is comfortable with costumes, then make sure you select an option that is lightweight and easy to remove in case it gets caught on anything.
Keep your pet inside during Halloween and away from visitors
Pets who are easily spooked by the doorbell or by new visitors should be kept inside behind a gate or a closed door. Instead of having trick-or-treaters come up to your door, try setting up a spot on your driveway or patio so your neighbors can grab candy while your dog or cat is safely inside.
If you want to bring your dog with you trick-or-treating, make sure you know that they are not easily spooked by loud noises or a lot of people. If your dog is fine in these situations, make sure they are always secured on a leash, wearing an ID collar, and have a microchip with up-to-date contact information in case anything were to happen.
Following these simple tips can help ensure a fun and safe Halloween day for the entire family, including your fur-ever friend! For more information on pet safety advice, puppy training courses, and adoptable rescues, please visit aawl.org.