Halloween Treats: Do's & Don'ts
Halloween is a festive time for the whole family. Yes, we've known pets that actually enjoyed playing dress-up. But, Halloween can also be a dangerous time for our pets because of distractions, intriguing sights and smells, and, of course, Halloween treats that don't belong anywhere near our pets' muzzles or snouts. Today, we want to discuss Halloween Treats: Do's & Don'ts for enjoying the spooky season safely.
Sugar, Artificial Colors & Flavors
The amount of candy that many kids get on and around Halloween can be shocking. Kids that go trick or treating usually come home with dozens upon dozens of delicious treats, not to mention whatever they picked up from school events, friends, and, of course, well-meaning grandparents. (wink, wink) Many parents use tools like the Switch Witch to get rid of some of the candy, recognizing that the sugar, artificial colors and flavors are far from ideal. Can you blame them?
Now, just think about what those sugars and artificial additives might do to our pets, especially those on strict diets. Our pets usually eat controlled meals - kibble, meats, veggies, legumes. They aren't used to eating Skittles and Starbursts. If they were to help themselves to these sugary sweet treats, they could end up very sick.
Even if you were lucky and your pet displayed no outward symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, there's still no telling if our pets could end up with tummy aches, reflux, dizziness, and heart palpitations from indulging in Halloween sweets. With kids, most would agree that candy is okay in moderation but, with pets, experts agree to avoid it at all costs!
I don't know why anyone would give out raisins on Halloween, but it happens. While raisins may be more natural than candy, they too are high in sugar and potentially very harmful to pets. Those seemingly harmless packets of raisins you thought were a better option than Snickers, are just as bad because they can cause toxicity and even kidney failure in dogs. Most cats won't touch raisins and, well, we get it... here's more about the risks of raisins, grapes, and currents to pets from VCA Animal Hospitals.
Chocolate is a double-whammy for pets. Not only is it packed with sugar and artificial fillers these days, but it's also inherently toxic in high doses. While most Halloween chocolate has a limited amount of real cocoa in it, it's still a best practice to keep chocolate away from our pets any time of year.
Unfortunately, our pets don't even have to eat candy or chocolate to make themselves sick this time of year. All they need is a stinky, sticky wrapper that once housed a Halloween treat to make it irresistible and potentially harmful.
You see, candy wrappers smell like what they once held and pets may chew on them for that last bit of flavor. Unfortunately, most pets, namely dogs, won't spit out the wrapper once they are done with it. They will often swallow it, which can result in intestinal blockages. For this reason, we urge you to keep all candy and candy wrappers secured in a locked container or in a covered trash receptacle during Halloween and throughout the year.
Pet-Safe Halloween Treats
There are some very tasty pet-safe Halloween treats out there but the best are those specifically made for cats and/or dogs with season and species-appropriate ingredients.
Canned pumpkin is a great treat whether it be baked in a treat or used as a food topper. Pumpkin has great digestive benefits for both cats and dogs. Blueberries are also seasonal and appropriate for pets. Freeze them and they may like them even more! Peanut butter, almond butter, and certain nuts can also be a tasty treat in moderation. Nuts and nut butter can be high in fat, therefore, you want to watch the serving sizes to prevent pancreatitis or other issues that may result from the high-fat content.
Finally, we found this awesome recipe online for a fun and festive way to celebrate Halloween with your pets. This candy corn dog treat recipe (safe for cats too!) is a great way to get your pet licking, which is biologically appropriate and beneficial behavior, while also getting them some good nutrients in a fun way. All you need is nonfat unflavored yogurt, mashed bananas, and canned pumpkin. Layering the ingredients into a paper cup and freezing is as easy as 1, 2, 3, literally.
Pet-Safe Halloween Tips
Next week, we'll share more pet-safe halloween tips with you to ensure that you're prepared for the a festive celebration before the trick or treaters make their way to your front door.
In the meantime, we'd like to take this time to remind you that the last quarter of the year is incredibly busy for pet sitting companies like ours. If you are a registered client of Hearts at Home Pet Sitting and need care for your pets, we ask that you please schedule your dog walking and pet sitting services as soon as possible.
If you are new to Hearts at Home, please submit a new client questionnaire here. For more information, visit our website or contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868.