You can have a happy Halloween season by making sure your furry family members are safe and spook-free this October. Here are five tips from a Santa Clarita veterinarian to help SCV pet owners do just that:Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking KHTS Santa Clarita News Alerts delivered right to your inbox.
1. Keep candy out of your pet’s reach — and tell your kids too.
You’ve probably heard that chocolate can be toxic to both dogs and cats, but less well-known are the dangers of a common ingredient in candy called xylitol.
“There’s a lot of different candies that can also be dangerous,” said Dr. Jaimie Ronchetto of Cinema Veterinary Centre in Valencia. “Sugarless candies or sugarless gum contains xylitol, and that can cause them to basically have a hypoglycemic shock, so very low blood sugar. That can be very life-threatening.”
By storing candy high out of your pet’s reach, and being sure you or your kids don’t leave any candy lying around the house or yard, you can save yourself and your pet a stressful emergency visit to the vet.
2. Make sure pets are secure on Halloween night.
Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters is a popular Halloween tradition, but equally important is keeping pets from slipping out the door during the night.
“With lots of trick-or-treaters coming by, the door opening and closing all the time, it’s just best to keep all the pets away from that kind of commotion,” Ronchetto said. “It’s too easy for a dog (or cat) to just slip out the front door.”
By keeping pets in a room with the door closed, or some other secure area of the house, you can help prevent your pet from getting lost during the festivities.
3. Bring outdoor cats inside the day of Halloween, and keep them in overnight.
Sadly, Halloween can be a dangerous holiday for cats — especially black cats — making it vital you bring your furry feline inside before the sun goes down.
“There’s mean people out there and bad things happen every year,” Ronchetto said. “Even if kitties are used to being outdoors, bring them in on Halloween and keep them in overnight.”
While Ronchetto recommends cats be brought inside no later than 4 or 5 p.m., she noted “the earlier the better.”
4. Be mindful about dressing your pets up in Halloween costumes.
Dressing up your dog — or cat — in a costume for pictures, Halloween events and trick-or-treating is a popular way to include them in the fun, but be mindful of your pet’s comfort.
“Make sure that they’re not in their Halloween costumes for too long, because they can still get overheated,” Ronchetto said, adding that choosing the right size for your pet is important too.
“Any kind of costumes you do use, make sure that they fit them well,” she continued, “that they have room to still move around and it’s not too constricting.”
5. Make decorations around the house pet-friendly.
Halloween decorations can not only scare people, but your pets too. Taking the time to introduce your dog or cat to decorations slowly can help lower their fear and anxiety around the house.
“Some people go all out for Halloween and … a lot of the decorations are still kind of scary for them,” Ronchetto said. “They’ll notice that things are different and might be a little skittish.”
Choosing pet-friendly alternatives to some traditional decorations can also be helpful, like using LED candles inside your Jack-O-Lantern instead of real candles.
“That’s just safer so that they can’t get burned or have tails wagging and knocking something off to cause fires,” Ronchetto said. “There are the safer alternatives.”
By following these five tips, you can help make sure you have a happy Halloween with your entire family, fur babies and all!
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