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The ghoulish season is upon us, but don’t be afraid – here are a few tips you can use to make your fright fest animal friendly!

Safer indoors

Keep pets indoors, as they might run away when the party kicks off outside, but also to prevent animal abuse and cruelty. Some people with twisted minds get more ideas around Halloween, especially about black cats… Also make sure your animals are microchipped, the microchips are registered under your name with your contact details available, in case they do manage to sneak out. Equipping your furry friends with ID tags can also be a good idea.

Trick or treat

With trick or treating on full blast be aware of the dangers different sweet treats can pose to your pet. Don’t leave the sweet goodies out unsupervised, accessible to your four-legged companion. Sweets containing xylitol, chocolate, raisins, candy wrappers (that can cause intestinal obstruction), alcohol are all potential sources of hazard.

Halloween decorations

As with all seasonal decorations, we got to be mindful which ones could potentially cause harm to our pets. They don’t think like us, and as inquisitive they are, might not stop at admiring the decorations from afar… Small, loose parts, hanging lights and ornaments and things that light up, flash or are motion-activated are all potential targets for your dog or cat. Glow sticks are extremely bitter when your pet accidentally chews on them. Tinsels and long wires, when ingested, can lead to the nastiest intestinal obstructions. Chewing on electric wiring or bulbs can also lead to electrocution. Place candles carefully where they are safe from being knocked over or causing burn injury.

Nightmare on Elm Street

Festivities and the related noise and disruption of routine might be amusing to us, but it’s not fun and games to our unsuspecting pets. The lots of people and activity on the streets, screaming, people coming to the door and knocking, costumes, scary masks and fireworks are all very alarming, confusing and unsettling for an animal. Remember, they have no idea what’s going on. Try to provide a calm environment, potential places to hide and be at peace. Maybe turn the TV on or put on some music. You can also try calming products (sprays, diffusers) and relaxing essential oils (lavender, valerian) to soothe your scared pets’ nerves. Oh and unless you have a chilled out couch potato or an avid socialite for a pet – please try not to dress them up and make them participate in the celebrations. Making the kids have a screaming laugh at their “funny” costume is not worth freaking your animals out for an entire evening.

The wild side

Halloween celebrations can, of course, have an impact on our wildlife as well. Here are the two most important aspects you need to consider:

  1. Please don’t use spider webs as part of your Halloween decorations outside of your home. These webs can easily entangle and trap wild animals like birds and bats. They will likely obtain severe injuries that, besides stress and starvation, will probably lead to their death. This is not the kind of horror you want to bring about when you are trying to get into the Halloween spirit.
  2. Don’t dump your pumpkins in forests once the festivities pass – they can be dangerous to hedgehogs (they are already classified as vulnerable to extinction) and other wild animals. You can, however, offer and take them to shelters, farms, or riding schools, many animals do love pumpkins! Don’t leave candles or wax in them though. Read more about this and other useful tips for alternative uses of your pumpkins here: https://www.forestryengland.uk/news/dumping-pumpkins-the-woods-bad-wildlife-says-forestry-england-expert

Stay safe and spooky out there folks. I’m already looking forward to this Samhain!