With Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner, there’s lot of fun (and food) in store. But, for your pets, it can be a stressful and chaotic time with doorbells ringing, out of town guests visiting, and dangerous food items within reach.
Kimberly Vermillion, Director of Communications at the Arizona Animal Welfare League, shares some great tips on how to keep your pets safe during the upcoming holiday season.
Halloween Pet Safety:
- Keep chocolate and candy out of reach from pets. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs. Sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can also cause serious problems, and can even be deadly to dogs. Make sure to keep trick or treat bags out of reach from your pets, either in a cabinet or enclosed pantry. If you have a treat or treat bowl in your home, make sure it’s out of reach for your pets.
- Ensure pet costumes are comfortable. Keep your pet’s personality in mind when picking their costume. If your pet tends to be anxious, try just a festive bandana instead. If your pet is fine with a costume, just make sure the costume is lightweight and easy to remove in case it gets caught on anything. Also make sure that their costume doesn’t limit your pet’s vision or movement
- Limit doorbell ringing for sensitive pets. If your dog gets worked up from the doorbell, but you still want to be involved with trick or treating, try setting up a spot on your driveway or patio for you to sit and distribute candy. That way your pets are safe inside and they don’t have to listen to a million knocks or doorbell rings, which could increase their anxiety.
- Properly leash and ID your pet before taking them out. If you want to take your dog with you trick or treating, really make sure you know that your dog is comfortable with loud noises and large crowds. If they are fine in these situations, then always make sure they are secured on a leash at all times and make sure their ID collar and microchip information are up to date in case anything were to happen.
- Avoid giving your pet pumpkin carvings. Anything in large quantities can lead to upset tummies or if they were to try to eat the rind of a pumpkin it could cause bowel obstructions. If you want your pet to enjoy a pumpkin treat, try giving them fresh or canned pumpkin puree. Just make sure pumpkin is the only ingredient and there are no added spices
Thanksgiving Pet Safety:
- Don’t feed pets leftovers or scraps. It’s really best to avoid sharing any table scraps with your pet, as there can be added spices or ingredients that could be harmful to them. If you want your pet to enjoy a holiday treat, make one especially for them using pumpkin puree and plain yogurt. Just make sure there’s no added sugars or ingredients. Then you can mix them together and make a frozen treat for them. Turkey bones, fatty foods, chocolate, and raisins are especially dangerous for your pets.
- Create a quiet space for pets when visitors are over. If your pets get overwhelmed or shy with new people, it’s best to create a safe and quiet space for them to retreat to when you have visitors.
- Let your pet warm up to people on their own. Make sure your guests know if your pet gets easily overwhelmed and to take it slow. Let your pet approach them at their own pace. Keep your pets behind a gate or closed door while your guests are entering your home, so there’s no opportunities for them to try to escape all the commotion.
Wishing you, your family, and your pets a happy and safe Halloween and Thanksgiving!