Halloween is almost here, and to prevent this holiday from becoming a scary one for you and your pets, it’s important to consider common items and activities that can be dangerous to your furry friends.
The day will undoubtedly look different this year because of COVID-19, and Halloween activities will vary vastly between communities.
Whatever Halloween ends up looking like this year, candy and costumes will most likely be involved. Here are some basic precautions for pet owners to keep pets safe and happy on All Hallow’s Eve:
• Candy is for kids, not dogs and cats. Chocolate can be very toxic to our furry friends. Candy containing xylitol (artificial sweetener) can also be dangerous. Keep any candy out of pets’ reach.
• Wires and cords that light up your holiday decorations can be deadly if chewed on. Please make sure pets can’t access them.
• Jack-o-lanterns with lit candles should be kept away from pets who might accidentally knock them over and potentially start a fire.
• Pets should be kept inside during Halloween, if trick-or-treating is happening in your community. Use caution when answering the door so your cat doesn’t dart outside. If the extra door knocking or doorbell ringing stresses out your pets, put them in a quiet room away from the noise, or use a gate to stop them from lunging at the door.
• Make sure your pets have current ID tags and that microchip info is up to date.
• If you do decide to dress up your pet, make sure the costume is not bothersome and is safe for your pet. Costumes should not constrict movement, breathing or vision. Small dangling pieces can be choking hazards. Ill-fitting costumes can get twisted and caught on external objects and hurt your pet.
• Most dogs would prefer not to go out for Halloween parades or trick-or-treating. The chaos, costumes and excited kids can be frightening to even the friendliest of dogs and cause them to act differently than normal. It’s best to leave them at home to be safe.
A myth about black cats: There is no evidence that adopting out black cats around Halloween poses any greater risk to the pets than adopting them at any other time of the year. In most shelters, black cats are the last to be adopted, so saddling them with the additional baggage of taking them off the adoption roles for up to a month or more before Halloween makes no sense. Black cats and all cats in shelters have much more to fear when it comes to not getting out of shelters at all as they are dying at a two-to-one ratio to dogs in shelters.
Here are a few positive myths and beliefs about black cats.
• Black cats are a symbol of good luck in Great Britain.
• A strange black cat’s arrival at a home signifies prosperity in Scotland.
• In Japan, it is said that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
• Fishermen’s wives would keep black cats in their homes because they believed the cats could protect their husbands at sea and bring them home safely.
• Sailors considered a black ship cat to be especially lucky.