By Michelle Sathe
Best Friends Animal Society
Halloween is almost here, and to prevent this holiday from becoming a scary one for you and your pets, it’s important to consider common items and activities that can be dangerous to your furry friends.
The holiday will undoubtedly look different this year due to COVID-19, and Halloween activities will vary vastly between communities. Some areas may have celebrations that look somewhat normal, and some cities have already banned such activities as trick-or-treating to help keep residents safe.
In addition to any local mandates, the CDC suggests avoiding “higher-risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, such as participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door or attending crowded costume parties held indoors,” among others.
Whatever Halloween ends up looking like this year, even with scavenger hunts and virtual gatherings, candy and costumes will most likely be involved. Here are some basic precautions for pet owners to keep pets safe and happy on All Hallow’s Eve:
Candy is for kids, not dogs and cats. Chocolate can be very toxic to our furry friends. Candy containing xylitol (artificial sweetener) can also be dangerous. Keep any stashes of candy out of pets’ reach.
Wires and cords that light up your holiday decorations can be deadly if chewed on. Please make sure pets don’t have access to them.
Jack-o-lanterns with lit candles should be kept away from pets who might accidentally knock them over and potentially start a fire.
Pets should be kept inside during Halloween, if trick-or-treating is happening in your community. Use caution when answering the door so your cat doesn’t dart outside. If the extra door knocking or doorbell ringing stresses out your pets, put them in a quiet room away from the noise.
Make sure your pets have current ID tags and that microchip info is up to date.
If you do decide to dress up your pet, make sure the costume is not annoying and is safe for your pet. Costumes should not constrict movement, breathing, or vision. Small dangling pieces can be choking hazards. Ill-fitting costumes can get twisted and caught on external objects and hurt your pet.
Most dogs would prefer not to go out for Halloween parades or scavenger hunts. The chaos and costumes and excited kids can be frightening to even the friendliest of dogs and cause them to act differently than normal.
And just for fun, here are a few positive myths and beliefs about black cats.
Black cats are a symbol of good luck in Great Britain.
A strange black cat’s arrival at a home signifies prosperity in Scotland.
In Japan, it is said that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors.
Fishermen’s wives would keep black cats in their homes because they believed the cats could protect their husbands at sea and bring them home safely.
Sailors considered a black ship cat to be especially lucky.