Halloween and Your Pet
Veterinarian Reviewed on October 26, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
What does your pet think about Halloween? I have written before about Halloween parties for pets but not all pets like Halloween. In fact some of them think it is very scary. Here are some things you can do to help your pet adjust to Halloween.
The two biggest problems with Halloween are injuries and poisoning — and animal emergency clinics traditionally see plenty of both. When you’re planning to include your pet in holiday plans, keep pet protection in the mix. With the increase in activity around the neighborhood, cats and dogs get nervous, and some will take off if they can. That means an increase in the number of animals hit by cars. Sometimes your pet may be a cause of injury. All those costumed young visitors can trigger territorial instincts or fear responses in some dogs, who may then become a bite risk. The best solution for nervous pets is to confine them for the evening in a crate or a quiet room far from the front door or any holiday festivities.
Many animal-welfare groups warn that black cats are at special risk around Halloween, claiming that cultists pick up the animals for ritual torture. Such concerns have led many shelters to halt the adoption of black cats in the days before Halloween. In truth, such cruelties are so poorly documented that they surely happen rarely, if at all. Your black cat is more likely to be killed by a car than a cultist, since it’s difficult to see a black cat in the dark. But the threat of either is more than reason enough to keep him inside. If you keep your pets confined safe indoors, you eliminate any issues with them being out on Halloween night, but the other issue is all the goodies.
For dogs and cats, chocolate can be deadly depending on the type and amount ingested as well as the weight of the dog or cat. Sugar free candies sweetened with Xilitol are more toxic to pets than chocolate.
And finally, if you are dressing up for Halloween, make sure your pet has seen your costume ahead of time. Sometimes your pet might be more afraid of your costume than you might believe.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan