Halloween can mean lots of fun for all the family, including some of our more adventurous fur babies, who won’t be outdone in the dressing-up stakes!
But Halloween can bring some challenges and risks for pets and pet parents alike. Understanding these and avoiding them will help make sure Halloween is a fun time for all and not a stressful trip to the vet!
So what sort of risks could we be talking about?
Fangs, falsies and foreign bodies!
Halloween props and toys:
- False teeth, fake fangs, fingers, claws, eye patches, false eyes, moustaches, whiskers, bats
- Usually made of plastic, rubber or nylon. – And all completely indigestible for pets
Scary on your doorstep, even scarier inside your fur baby’s tummy.
Pets love to explore things with their mouths, a bit like babies, except that without fingers to use instead, they never grow out of it. And that means anything left on the floor or within reach of an inquisitive puppy or enthusiastic chewer is a risk. On the whole, cats show a little more discretion in their eating habits than their canine counterparts. But there is no shortage of exceptions to the rule!
What to do
If your pet swallows a foreign object, whether a corn cob, conker, sock, stone, false teeth or a false nose, call a vet immediately.
- Don’t try to make your pet sick with household chemicals or other online suggestions. These actions can cause serious harm and injury
- A vet can give your fur baby an injection to make them sick and empty their tummies. Problem gone!
- The injection needs to be given within 1-2 hours to be most effective
If your fur baby is gnawing on a wand or playing with a stray furry tail:
- Don’t try grabbing it from them!
- Distract them with something even better – and safe!
Playful pups see any attempt to grab their ‘treasure’ as a cue for fun. And getting into a tug-of-war over the cat costume is definitely a bad idea all around.
Because swallowing the ‘prize’ is a great way of cheating – And most dogs are champion cheats at tug-of-war!
And what’s more…
The object may shatter or pull apart-
- Sharp pieces damage mouths and throats
- Smaller pieces are easy to swallow!
- Poisonous chemicals may be exposed
- Tricky treats and ghastly games
Tricky treats and Ghastly Games
Many favourite human Halloween treats are poisonous for dogs.
- Raisins, sultanas and any of the treat bars that include them
- Treats that say ‘sugar free’ and have artificial sweetener called Xylitol
Fruit stones and seeds
- Dooking for apples? Apples are healthy safe treats. But apple seeds contain cyanide – nasty eh! So no more than one apple per day, and better without the core.
- Absolutely no toffee apples! Sweet and bad for everyone’s teeth!
Decorations to ditch
Bowls of autumnal conkers, fir cones and dried leaves and berries may look atmospheric, but keep them out of reach of ALL the household pets, especially curious cats and playful pups:
- Conkers and fir cones are poisonous if chewed and can cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed- double the danger!
- Tempting dangly decorations like cobwebs and lanterns are an injury risk when your feline fur baby uses them as a climbing toy or your playful pup pulls them on top of themselves
Avoid spray paints and other aerosols
- Aerosol cans make scary noises for pets. Their ears are far more sensitive than ours
- Aerosol sprays and fumes will aggravate breathing problems for pets with asthma or other lung problems
- Uncovered candles are a fire hazard at any time of year.
- Waggy tails, prowling pusscats and naked lights just don’t go well together!
Face Paints and Fake Blood
Make sure paint pots, lipsticks and fake blood are tidied away after use and kept out of reach. Most water-based paints are safe for children and unlikely to be a problem for pets who lick or swallow them in small amounts. But just like humans, pets can also suffer allergic reactions to paint chemicals.
Severe allergic reactions – Anaphylaxis:
Contact the nearest vet immediately if your pet’s tongue swells or they’re struggling to breathe
Call a vet if your pet shows symptoms of an allergic reaction, including:
- Pawing at their face or mouth
- Bumps appearing on their skin – may be all over the body
- Drooling saliva
- Swollen lips
Wash any remaining paint from the bits you can reach.
Rinse their mouth with clean fresh water.
Dressing-up do’s and don’ts
Many dogs and almost all cats won’t share their two-leg family’s enthusiasm for dressing up at Halloween.
Fine if they do share the fun. But avoiding stressing your fur baby with unwanted attention will reduce the risks and consequences of stress-induced cystitis, disappearance and fear aggression.
Too cute to spook – keep your fur baby safe
Give your fur baby a safe place to hide if Halloween is not their ‘thing’.
Keep them safe indoors, but always make sure your fur babies are microchipped and wear a collar with an identity tag to help get them home safely if they slip out in all of the Halloween excitement.
Let the Gourd Times Roll
Pumpkins are everywhere, and the good news is they’re not only safe but can make a tasty treat or appetising aperitif for your fur baby.
Take a look at our article on pumpkins and pets for more information.