Wait a minute! A Fear-Free Halloween? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
Well, sort of. Halloween is known to be a frightfully fun time for us humans, but when it comes to our pets, we should consider their need to feel safe, secure, and Fear-Free.
Whether or not you plan to participate in Halloween festivities, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to ensuring your pets stay safe. Please scroll down for CoastView Vet’s Top Ten Tips to help keep your pets safe.
If you are planning to dress up your pets, we’d love to see them. Please visit CoastView Vet during regular business hours so we can snap a photo of your pet. If you can’t drop by, please share a picture of your pet in the comment section of our “Halloween Photo Booth Fun” Album on our Facebook Page.
Top 10 Tips for a Fear-Free Halloween
Because when it comes to our pets, it should be All Treats and No Tricks!
1. Minimize Doorway Drama!
Did you know that the day after Halloween is one of the busiest days for animal shelters? It’s true. Only the Independence Day holiday is more dangerous (from a lost pet perspective). Please keep your pets safe in a room or an area away from the constantly opening & closing door. The heartache over a lost pet lasts much longer than the few hours they’ll be upset with you for sequestering them safely away from the doorway drama of Halloween night. And it’s never too late to have your pet microchipped. It only takes a few minutes.
2. Hoover Hounds & Curious Cats
Going beyond the dangers associated with chocolate toxicity, please also watch for choking hazards such as hard candy, lollipops/suckers, even candy wrappers (irresistible to cats – especially after you’ve just spent good money on cat toys!) can become choking hazards or cause bowel obstructions. In addition, Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs, is now an added ingredient in both candy and gum.
3. Those DOGgone Costume CATastrophies
- Choking hazards – Please avoid choking hazards from small scraps of fabric, buttons, beads, snaps, etc., pets will chew, chew, chew on their costumes for a variety of reasons.
- Strangulation hazards – Belts, sashes, strings of beads, etc., can cause strangulation.
- Heat Stress, Heat Exhaustion, or Heat Stroke – Many pets can easily overheat in any type of clothing – cute Halloween costumes are no exception. You know your pet best – please watch their body language for signs of discomfort or distress.
If you have to think twice about dressing your pet in a Halloween costume, err on the side of safety and forego the costume for a cute bandanna or bows for their Halloween hairdo.
4. Stranger Danger
Please avoid frightening your pets with your own Halloween costumes, masks, make-up, etc. Your precious pets trust you and depend on you for comfort and safety. Have fun scaring your human family members, friends, and neighbors. Your pets simply do not understand what these Halloween shenanigans are all about.
5. Puppy Pyromaniacs
Did you know, according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), pets are responsible for over 1,000 house fires per year? Watch those candles! Especially if you use candles inside of carved pumpkin Jack-o-Lanterns. In addition to unintentional arson, pets can sustain painful burn injuries from candle flames or hot candle wax.
6. Haunted Houses in The Hood
Our Clairemont neighborhood is showing some serious Halloween spirit. We’ve seen some incredibly elaborate home and yard decor this year. Please be mindful of decor in which pets and wildlife can become entangled.
7. Think Chiller - Not Thriller
Ding-Dong-Ding-Dong-Ding-Dong! Stop the madness!! Your pets have no idea what’s happening on Halloween – and this spike in doorway drama is sure to cause some anxiety. The kindest thing you can do is to safely sequester your pets away from the doorbell. Our friends at Fear Free Pets recommend hanging a sign on your front door asking trick-or-treaters to quietly knock rather than ringing the doorbell. You might also try using a radio, t.v. or white-noise sound machine turned-up enough to help drown out the sounds of knocks and rings. And finally, make the experience more rewarding for your pet by filling a treat dispenser with some high-value treats – or freeze your dog’s canned food inside of a Kong Toy – so they will be busy focusing on their treats rather than wondering why they are sequestered away from you.
8. Ouch! That Sounds Painful
For many pets, even the sounds of happy kids squealing, “Trick-or-Treat!”, the pitter-patter of little feet running up and down the driveway, or the spooky sound of the neighbor’s Halloween decorations can be unnerving to a pet’s sensitive ears. If your dog exhibits signs of fear, anxiety, or stress related to sound, please reach out to us because we have a variety of tools, including new medications, to help ease anxiety in dogs who suffer from noise aversion. In addition to the tips in #7, consider playing music recorded specifically to calm dogs – such as Through a Dog’s Ear or Through a Cat’s Ear – to help drown out the noise associated with Halloween.
9. Pick-up Those Sticks
Glow Sticks, that is. Glow sticks are extra popular at Halloween because they are easier than flashlights for kiddos to carry around. And every Halloween, glow sticks account for a majority of Pet Poison Hotline phone calls. Some glow sticks contain a small glass vial which activates the ‘glow’ once the vial is broken.
10. Sick Pranksters
Unfortunately, there are some mentally disturbed humans out there who will target both cats and dogs for Halloween pranks. Black cats may be more at risk. However, please err on the safe side by keeping ALL cats and dogs safe and indoors.
In addition to our own top ten, our friends at Fear-Free Pets have put together this colorful flyer with a few more tips to ensure your home is a Fear-Free Happy Home for your pets. Please be sure download it – print it – and hang it on your refrigerator at home to remind the entire family to consider your pet’s perspective this Halloween.Download Here