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Tricks to make Halloween a treat for your pets

Halloween can be a dream come true for children (and, let’s face it, some adults) with costumes, candy and all the excitement that surrounds the experience. But for pets, the holiday can be a nightmare. The not-so-scary news is that there are ways to minimize stress and anxiety and keep your pets safe. It’s not just a bunch of hocus pocus. Read more to help your pets cope with all-things Halloween.

When pumpkins glow
If you use a candle or a battery-operated light to make your pumpkin glow, be sure to place it out of your pet’s reach. The same is true for decorations. Pets are curious, and cords and sparkly lights may prompt a bit of investigation. Chasing a panicked pet tangled in cords is not as fun as sifting through your child’s candy for, say, the elusive full-sized candy bar. Plus, your pet’s teeth are sharp enough to gnaw through the cords, which could cause an electrical shock or a burn. Remember to unplug decorations and blow out candles when you’re not around.

Beware of candy
Chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol—commonly used in gum and sugar-free treats—can be deadly for cats and dogs, and even small nibbles can be dangerous. Nuts are tricky. Some, like peanuts and almonds, are not toxic, but others, like macadamia nuts, are. Even the “OK nuts” have a high fat content that’s difficult to digest and could cause issues, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid this ingredient. If you think your pet snuck into the candy bowl, keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and overall changes in behavior—and call your veterinarian if you see any signs of distress.

Keep things that go eek, bark or meow in the night indoors
With so much activity going on Halloween night, your four-legged goblins may try to escape your yard or sneak through the continually opening door. There are so many sights and sounds happening, and it’s easy to see how your furry companion can get spooked. Think about putting your pet in a secure room away from the activity. You don’t want to scour the neighborhood looking for your pet instead of admiring cute costumes, right?

Not all who wander are lost, but …
In case your pet manages to dart off faster than you can say “trick or treat,” you have the best chance of being reunited if they have identification. Make sure your pet wears a collar with up to date tags (or a personalized collar with that information). It’s also a good tip to put your cell phone number on the identification tag instead of a landline number. Along that line, be sure your pet has a registered microchip with current information.

Frightfully cute
You may have been thinking about the purrfect … err, perfect … costume for your pet for months, but before you craft something either spooktacular or spectacular, keep a few things in mind. It seems obvious, but make sure costumes aren’t annoying or dangerous. Your pet should always be able to move freely, see, hear and breathe. Remember to supervise your pet at all times so that if something does go amiss, you can jump in to help.

It’s not just a bunch of hocus pocus. The more unusual the activity, the higher the chances of pets becoming stressed—for animals that are prone to anxiety or not. From all of us at the Dumb Friends League, have a safe and fun Halloween. Remember, if you’re looking for a cat, dog, small pet or horse, visit one of our shelters. The best treat is giving an animal a home!

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