How can your dog join in safely at Halloween?
During Halloween there is a high risk of dogs and cats ingesting toxic food or dangerous objects. Here we share our best tips and advice on how to celebrate a safe Halloween with your pet!
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
Did you know that FirstVet offers video calls with experienced, UK registered vets? If you are insured with one of our pet insurance partners, your video calls are completely free. You can get a consultation within 30 minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Just like at all other holidays, extra good food comes out during Halloween and it is tempting to offer the dog or cat a taste. Seasonal veg that you can try offering your dog:
- Carrots: a great snack for dogs! They can be a good substitute for a traditional treat or dental chew. Carrots are low in calories, high in fibre, and an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Start off by offering your dog a small amount of plain cooked carrot, or give them the occasional raw carrot to help clean their teeth. You will notice that dogs are not very good at digesting raw carrot but it may make their faeces easier to find on dark days!! If you chop up a carrot, make sure that it is bite sized so that they cannot choke on it. Puppies might like frozen carrots (sliced or diced) to help soothe their gums during teething.
- Pumpkin: often fed to dogs in America. The main reason for this is that you need to give them cooked/canned pumpkin. Pumpkin is high in fibre and often used to help dogs with diarrhoea or constipation. It is rich in fatty acids, which are good for the skin and coat. Use plain pumpkin; sweetened or spiced versions should not be fed to dogs. We would not recommend feeding more than a tablespoon per day but you can use the rest of the tin in some of the cooked treats mentioned below. Or, freeze it in ice trays, then thaw and feed as needed.
- Sweet potato: this is high in fibre and can be used as a treat, a meal topper or a perfect hiding place for a tablet. However, it needs to be cooked first. Small dogs can have a teaspoon a day, whereas large dogs can have a tablespoon.
- Butternut squash: another tasty vegetable that dogs can enjoy. It should be cooked and you should avoid adding seasoning. Please do not feed your dog the skin or the seeds.
Avoid the following foods:
- Raw pumpkin - difficult to digest and can cause stomach problems in large quantities
- Fatty foods
- Spicy food
- Food high in salt
It is not appropriate to give the dog or cat sweets for humans because the high sugar content and certain additives can irritate the stomach and intestines. There are also certain types of sweets that are toxic to our animals such as:
- Candy with paper around it
- Sweets or chewing gum containing xylitol
- Grapes and raisins
Keep in mind that dogs and cats may also find your home decorations exciting. There is a risk that they could swallow something that could get stuck in the stomach or intestines. Therefore, keep the animals away from all decorations to reduce the risk of them ingesting something inappropriate.
Trick or Treat
Dogs sometimes find that disguised people are scary. If the dog is also afraid of loud noises, it is best to let it stay at home when you go trick or treating with the children. Another reason to let the dog stay at home may be that you do not know who will open their door. There may, for example, be another dog who does not like other dogs, cats, or a dog that is scared of other people.
Fancy dress for your dog or cat
Some dogs and cats do not like wearing clothes. However, for those that are comfortable with this, if you want to dress your pet, remember to use flameproof and non-toxic clothing and products that your pet dog is happy wearing.
Do you have any questions or concerns about your pet at Halloween?
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.