Halloween pet safety: Hide candy, secure cords

Posted at 3:28 PM, Oct 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-06 16:28:27-04

Halloween is the time of year when we think of humans, ghosts, witches, goblins, zombies and ghouls, but often forget about one of the most important members of the family — the pet.

With all of the excitement surrounding this spooky holiday, it’s easy to overlook Fido or Fluffy, and that can have fatal consequences. Following these five safety precautions will help ensure your pets — or visitors — aren’t harmed during All Hallow’s Eve.

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Hide the chocolate
Unlike other candy, chocolate can be very toxic and fatal to pets because it contains theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, especially to dogs. Make sure kids (yours, as well visiting elves and fairies) know they can’t share candy with pets, and that they can’t leave their treats unattended. If you keep a big bowl of candy by the door to distribute, make sure a dog or cat can’t reach it. To be extra safe, keep dogs and cats out of a room with children, or bring them in for a short introduction so kids can share the holiday with them, then take your furry friend somewhere that’s kid-free.

Create a safe room
If your pet is skittish, nippy or has the potential to be overactive in a room full of people, create an area for him away from the action. Turn on the TV, play music or create other white noise in that room so your pooch or kitty doesn’t get upset at being left out of the action. Check online for pheromone products that reduce nervousness in pets. Just spray it onto a pet bed or blanket and your pooch or feline will feel more relaxed. Don’t forget to regulate the light as daytime turns to dusk.

Protect candles
Even if they’re placed in pumpkins, candles can pose a threat to pets. Candles that aren’t protected are even more dangerous, as fascinated pets might try to play with them while no one’s in the room, or knocking them over with a tail wag and starting a fire. Make sure an adult is assigned “candle duty” and keeps an eye on any you use during Halloween. This will help prevent you from leaving the house for a party or trick-or-treating with candles left burning while you’re away.

Don’t be shocking
The more sophisticated your decorations, the more likely you’ll have electrical cords running through the house or yard. Dogs love to chew (and so do squirrels and other critters), making electrical cords dangerous. Secure cords with tape anywhere someone might trip over them. Check them several times during the evening to make sure your pooch or cat hasn’t pulled them up.

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Test pet costumes
While your pet might look cute dressed up as a human or monster, costumes can itch, cut into skin, restrict vision and otherwise stress an animal. Don’t wait until Halloween to try out a pet costume the first time. Let your pet try her outfit the day before and see how she reacts. If she keeps trying to get it off, that’s what she’ll be doing during your party or candy-collecting walk.