The first five tips are courtesy of Steven May, noted animal expert. My comments are noted in italics, and additional tips are inserted from my own experience.
- Hang Halloween Decorations High
Candy wrappers are very enticing for pets. The smell, the glitter and the taste! Pets can ingest wrappers and tinsel and develop an intestinal blockage. Keep all wrappers free from your pets during the holiday season.
- Watch out for Easy Access Electric Cords
Halloween decorations can come with plenty of lights, so be careful and keep all electric cords free from access. Besides electrocution, burns of the mouth, tongue and gums can occur.
- Keep Batteries Out of Sight
Batteries are wonderful toys for pets. Swatting them around can make quite the enticing game. Keep them clear from pets as the ingredients are toxic to pets and children.
- Pumpkin Yum Yum is a No No
Even your carved pumpkin is a meal in itself. Because of the taste, pets love to play, chew and eat pumpkins. After sitting on your porch for days, the pumpkin can grow plenty of bacteria potentially causing intestinal inflammation, stomach upset and diarrhea. Canned (unsweetened) pumpkin is fine for a treat, as well as adding fiber to avoid constipation. If your cat is crazy for pumpkin, offer a teaspoon or two of the canned variety, to keep him away from your table decorations.
- Store the Chocolate Away
Chocolate contains Theobromine that is toxic to dogs in sufficient quantities. This is a xanthine compound in the same family of caffeine and Theophylline. A large amount of theobromine like 100-150 mg/kg can cause toxicity. Always seek your veterinarians advice when any quantity of chocolate has been ingested by your pets. It goes without saying that chocolate should be stored away year-round, out of reach of your cats and dogs.
- Confine Cats on the Big Night
Ringing doorbells, loud shouts of "trick or treat," and an often-opened front door are all frightening to cats. Keep them safely locked in a bedroom as far away from the front door as possible. The last thing you'll want is a scared cat running out the door.
- Save the Costumes for Humans and Dogs
While many dogs seem to enjoy wearing silly costumes and hats, cats have too much pride in their own luxurious coats to engage in such foolishness. Okay, try a t-shirt or hat for one quick photo, if you must, but let kitty glory in her unadorned beauty the rest of the time.
- Forget the Candles
You'll find dozens of cute Halloween candles on the market. Buy them if you can't resist, but never light them when the cats are in the same room. Cats + fire spells potential disaster.
- Keep Them Inside
This should go without saying. Cats can live happily indoors year-round, and it is especially important that they stay there on noisy, raucous holidays like Halloween New Year's Eve, and the 4th of July.
- Think Flower Essences
If you have an especially nervous scaredy cat, consider using one of the flower essences designed for calming. Pet Essences Thunderstorm might be an appropriate one for Halloween. It contains Aspen, Impatiens, Red Chestnut, Mimulus, and other natural flowers, and is used to calm cats when exposed to loud noises and commotion. Buy Direct. (As a last resort, your veterinarian may prescribe a mild tranquilizer.)
Steven May is a pet expert with more than 30 years in the industry. One of the original founders of the "pet limo" business back in the 80s, May has been featured in many publications and newspapers with his keen pet advice. May is the publisher of VETZ Magazine.
Franny Syufy writes and manages the Cats section at About.com, part of The New York Times Company