DENVER — The doorbell ringing and constant knocking that comes with Halloween, as well as the candy, chocolate and pet costumes, can cause stress, anxiety and danger to pets.
Frightened pets are more likely to bite, scratch or bolt from the house to escape perceived danger, and certain foods can cause sickness in animals.
The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) and Denver Animal Protection (DAP) offered the following advice for keeping pets happy and healthy at Halloween.
Trick or treat
Constant knocking or doorbell ringing can be stressful for dogs — especially those who protect their humans by barking when someone comes close. Stressed dogs can mean meeting strangers (especially odd-looking ones in costumes) with more aggressive behaviors or even a potential bite.
- Consider crating or keeping your dog in an enclosed room with a TV or soothing music on for company and a toy bone to chew on.
- If that doesn’t work, you can hand out candy for a short time and keep your dog on a leash to maintain control.
- Consider sitting outside to keep trick-or-treaters from knocking on the door or ringing the bell.
Microchip and name tags
If your dog or cat does get out the door, have proper identification on him or her.
- Microchips are even better because the identification is permanent.
- Make sure the information on it is updated.
Keep candy out of reach
Humans love chocolate, but it’s toxic for dogs. The higher the cocoa content, the worse the reaction.
Veterinarians say it takes just 1 ounce of milk chocolate for every pound of your dog’s weight to cause a poisonous reaction.
The DDPHE and DAP offered the following advice for keeping pets happy and healthy at Halloween. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
Wearing a costume can be stressful for some animals.
- Makes sure the costume doesn’t limit movement or the ability to see, breathe, bark or meow.
- Check for pieces that can be chewed off and become a choking hazard.
- Look for a costume that’s easy to get on and off, such as one with velcro or something that attaches to their harness or collar.
- If your pet tries to shake off a hat or any other accessory, take it off.
Hosting a party
- Keep food, candles and lit jack-o’-lanterns out of your dog or cat’s reach.
- Glow sticks also can be poisonous.
- Fake cobwebs and strung lights can choke or entangle your pet.
- Masks and costumes can change how people look, so even people your dog knows may scare them and cause uncertainty.
- Keep the party outdoors and keep the numbers small, no more than 10 people, from no more than two different households.
- Remember to wear your masks and maintain proper social distancing of at least 6 feet from others.
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