5 Tips for a Healthy, Happy Halloween With Your Pet
With Halloween just around the corner, RSPCA WA is reminding pet owners to give a little extra thought to their furry friend’s health and welfare.
While many people enjoy including their animal in the festivities, it’s important for pet owners to consider what the experience is like for their pet.
Unfamiliar visitors, pet dress-ups, lollies, chocolates, and excited children are just a few aspects of the spooky Holiday which could pose a risk to your pet’s health and wellbeing.
These 5 tips will help keep your pet (and your family) happy and healthy this Halloween:
- Pet Costumes
Some pets will tolerate wearing a costume, and do not even appear to notice; others will find the experience unpleasant. Observe your pet’s reaction and do not dress them up if they show obvious discomfort. Even pets who appear calm when wearing a costume should be supervised closely at all times and should only wear their outfits for short periods. Costumes should never cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth, or restrict their natural movements. For more advice on pet costumes, visit RSPCA’s Knowledgebase website.
- Toxic Treats
Please don’t feed your pet sweets or chocolate, and keep your Halloween haul well out of reach. Chocolate contains a toxic ingredient called Theobromine. This can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and seizures. Some sweets and candy contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes seizures. If your pet has ingested chocolate or sweets, contact your local vet as soon as possible.
- Stranger Stress
If trick-or-treating is popular in your area, please don’t leave your dog outside. Dogs could be teased or frightened by strangers in costumes and masks or fed improper foods. If you know your dog is fearful of strangers coming to the door, consider putting up a sign on the front gate asking people not to trick-or-treat. Or give your pet constant access to a quiet place inside your home where they can hide and rest undisturbed. You could also play music or leave the TV on to mask sounds of activity at the front door.
- Children and Dogs
Understandably, children can become overly excited on Halloween, and some animals may not cope well with this. Even if your dog is generally friendly to all people, they may not be used to people dressed up in costumes. Some dogs and puppies can get excited by costumes which have parts dangling off them while kids are wearing them. Teach children to stand still if your dog gets too excited, then redirect your dog to something more interesting, such as a toy, or take them away to their ‘safe space’.
- Trick or Treating
For safety reasons, avoid houses where you can hear a dog barking behind a fence. Never approach any dog, even if you know them. They may not recognise you (or your children) in a costume. If an owner opens a door and there is a dog there, just stay still and wait for the owner to put the dog away. Don’t move towards the person or dog, wait for them to come to you to give you treats. If a dog escapes and approaches you, stand still, hands folded in front of you and watch your feet. Wait for someone to come and get the dog before you turn away.
Comments attributed to RSPCA WA Communications Manager Richard Schoonraad:
“With Halloween growing in popularity in Australia every year, it is important to take a moment and think about how your furry best mate may cope with the festivities
“Pets devouring toxic Halloween treats, and being dressed up in costumes which could cause stress or discomfort, are areas of particular concern for RSPCA WA.
“We’d encourage pet owners to rethink whether dressing their pet up for Halloween is really necessary. No animals should be made to feel uncomfortable for the sake of a laugh or a cute picture.
“By following these 5 tips, we hope all human and furry family members can enjoy a safe and happy Halloween.”