Fall has officially arrived! The cool crisp air and colorful foliage makes it a perfect time for your pet to be outside for walks and playtime.

While everybody will enjoy the respite from summer heat and humidity before the cold winter sets in, there are a few things you need to keep in mind to keep your pet safe and healthy during this transition season – and the Halloween holiday.

Watch out for holiday food and drinks. For most of us, the holidays are the time to indulge in our favorite treats, especially all the sweets that come with Halloween. However, it’s not the time to share festive foods with your furry family member. Popular holiday foods and drinks like chocolate, candy, poultry bones, and alcohol can be extremely hazardous to your pet. Make sure that potentially toxic foods are out of paws reach – and don’t cave into “begging.”

Beware of holiday decorations. Decorating your home can lift your spirits, particularly during these challenging times. Just keep in mind that shiny objects, ribbons, candles in a jack-o-lantern, and straw from decorative scarecrows can be very enticing to pets – especially cats. Make sure that any decorations that are remotely tempting are displayed out of the reach of your furry companion. Ingesting ribbon, string, glass, etc. can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening – not to mention the fire dangers that are associated with candles and open flames.

Be careful with costumes. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause unnecessary stress. If your four-legged family member doesn’t like their costume, never force them to wear it, even for a quick picture. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit their movement, sight, or ability to breathe, bark, or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury, so make sure their costume has a correct fit.

Prepare your pet for guests. If you are going to have a few people over during the holidays (safely, of course) pay extra attention to your pet. Some cats and dogs don’t like people they are unfamiliar with and may act out or run and hide. If you can, put your aggressive or timid pet in a separate room with their food, water, litterbox, special bed, and toys during these occasions.

Make sure microchipping is up-to-date. With family members, trick-or-treaters, delivery people, and guests coming in and out of the home during the holidays, the front door will see a lot of traffic. This is a prime opportunity for excited or overwhelmed pets to make a grand escape. Now is a good time to make sure your pet’s microchip contact information is current – and that they have their collar and ID tag on at all times.

Be cautious about pest control. Other furry creatures are trying to get indoors before it gets cold — mice! If a product is strong enough to kill a mouse, think of what it could do to your pet. Use these products with extreme caution and store them in places that your pet can’t easily access.

Be careful with antifreeze. During the fall, many of us prepare our cars for winter, which includes changing the antifreeze. Antifreeze is highly toxic to pets, and dogs in particular, are attracted to the sweet odor and taste of ethylene glycol-based coolants. Consider taking your car to a professional for winterization to keep the harmful products out of your home and garage.

However you plan to enjoy the cool fall weather and Halloween, make sure your furry friend is protected. By following these suggestions, you can be assured that your pet is healthy, happy, and cozy.

If your pet does get their paws on a dangerous item and needs immediate medical assistance, contact our Union location immediately at 908-232-1048. Our emergency and critical care team is available seven days a week from 7am-11pm, even on holidays and weekends.