More and more pet owners are involving their pets in their holiday activities, and Halloween is no different. Halloween-themed costumes and toys for cats and dogs are now widely available. But while these products are specifically made for our pets, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) warns that many Halloween activities are potentially dangerous. "Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals," says Mindy Bough, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. "As you start to make plans for trick-or-treating or Halloween costumes, pet parents should be aware of Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets."
With regard to costumes, the ASPCA says to be careful and make sure the costume does not limit your pet’s movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. A good alternative to dressing your pet in a costume is a simple, festive Halloween bandana. And decorations can also be dangerous, particularly those involving candles or fire, and those with long cables or extension cords. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.
Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Onyx and Breezy Shefts Adoption Center, says that trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets, and advises pet owners to keep pets in a room away from your front door. "Be sure that your pet has identification tags should he or she accidentally get loose. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home."
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the risk to your pet on Halloween is probably greatest from the candy. Products containing chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol are extremely dangerous, and pet owners need to be careful to keep all candy out of reach of dogs and cats. And after consumption, you should also be careful where you put the wrappers: Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.