The leaves are starting to change, and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere. As you get ready for Halloween and all the spooky fun that comes with it, ensure your pet is protected. Our Town & Country Animal Hospital, PC team has some things to tell you about Halloween pet mishaps to help you safeguard your four-legged friend.

Pet Halloween mishap #1: The case of the invisible cat

Simon, a 2-year-old Siamese: “For reasons unknown, my owners invited monsters, ghosts, and other scary creatures into our house. They made odd ritual movements to loud noises (I think they called it dancing) and laughed uproariously for no reason. This was no place for a sophisticated cat, so I sneaked out an open door to find a quieter location to nap.”

Pets can easily become scared or overwhelmed with all the Halloween shenanigans, and they may go missing. Tips to help protect your furry pal include:

  • Keep your pet inside — Ensure your pet remains inside on Halloween. Not only does this help prevent a missing pet, but it also ensures troublemakers can’t harm your four-legged friend during a Halloween prank.
  • Post signs — If you have a party, post signs to remind you and your guests to watch for your pet when going in and out of your house.
  • Check your pet’s collar and tags — Your pet should always wear a collar and identification tags that have your current contact information. Ensure the tags are legible and secured on the collar.
  • Microchip your pet — Microchipping your pet provides permanent identification that can’t be removed or lost. Once your pet is microchipped, keep your contact information up to date in the microchip registry so you can be contacted if your four-legged friend is found.

Pet Halloween mishap #2: The case of the poisoned pup

Lanie, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever: “The small bipeds in our family dressed in odd clothes and left for a couple of hours. When they came back, they had buckets of wonderful yummy treats! But they didn’t offer me any–how rude! After they went to bed, I found their stash and helped myself to what was left. Uh-oh, now I don’t feel so well.”

Several common Halloween treats, such as chocolate, xylitol-containing candies, and raisins, are toxic to pets and can result in serious health complications. Tips to prevent a potential pet poisoning include:

  • Store candy securely — Keep the candy bowl and any bagged candy stored securely, preferably behind a locked cabinet or on a high shelf to prevent your pet from stealing your stash.
  • Inform your children — Tell your children that candy is dangerous for pets so that they don’t share their trick-or-treat haul with your furry pal.
  • Provide pet-friendly treats — To prevent your pet from feeling left out, provide pet-friendly Halloween treats they can enjoy while you indulge in the trick-or-treat candy.

If your four-legged friend ingests a pet toxin, contact Town & Country Animal Hospital, PC or Animal Poison Control to get expert advice on how to care for them.

Pet Halloween mishap #3: The case of the mummified mutt

Dandy, a 6-year-old dachshund: “My mom forced me into some type of torture device. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, and I’m pretty sure I looked ridiculous. I can’t believe she would treat me like that!”

Pets in Halloween costumes are super cute, but clothing can cause problems for your four-legged friend. Tips to keep your pet safe from Halloween costume-related incidents include:

  • Check the fit — Ensure your pet’s costume fits appropriately and doesn’t cause irritation or pinching anywhere. In addition, ensure the costume doesn’t restrict their breathing or movement.
  • Remove accessories — Remove buttons and other small accessories that your pet could chew off and swallow to help prevent a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction.
  • Read your pet — If your pet shows signs of stress, such as refusing to move or biting at the costume, don’t force them to wear it.
  • Keep it short — Take a few pictures of your pet in their Halloween costume and then let them go free because they undoubtedly would prefer wearing their birthday suit.

Pet Halloween mishap #4: The case of the scaredy cat

Caroline, a 3-year-old calico cat: “A bell kept ringing, and short, scary creatures crowded the doorway. I could hear people screaming in terror and moaning outside. I was terrified and hid under the bed until morning finally came and things seemed to return to normal.”

Constantly ringing doorbells and scarily clad strange people can frighten your pet. Tips to protect your four-legged friend from stress and fear include:

  • Keep your pet in an interior room — Create a safety zone for your pet in an interior room. Ensure they have everything they need (i.e., food, water, litter box, bedding), and leave music playing to mask outside noises. You also can provide a food puzzle toy to help keep them occupied.
  • Leave the candy outside — If your pet is especially prone to anxiety issues, leave the candy bowl outside with a note telling trick-or-treaters to refrain from ringing the doorbell and to take a piece of candy. 
  • Ask for veterinary help — Some pets benefit from sedatives or anti-anxiety medications to help them cope with holiday-related situations. Ask our team if your pet is a good candidate for these drugs.

Contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital, PC team if you would like your pet microchipped before Halloween or if you think they could benefit from an anti-anxiety medication.