Enjoy a '˜Spook'tacular Autumn without '˜Pet-rifying' your Pets!

Halloween and Bonfire Night offer humans ample opportunity for some terrifyingly good fun, however it can be one of the scariest times of the year for our four-legged friends. Both celebrations can be particularly distressing, stressful and dangerous for our pets, giving them a big fright for all the wrong reasons.

Monday, 29th October 2018, 2:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th October 2018, 3:16 am

To help ensure you and your furry friend can enjoy the festivities together, Natures Menu, the UK and Europe's number one expert in raw and natural pet food, reveals how to have a stress-free and safe Halloween and Bonfire Night.

- Sweet treats

Trick or treating is considered the best part of Halloween for little kids and some big kids, but a lot of the treats we consume over Halloween can be toxic to our pets:

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Chocolate is poisonous to our four-legged friends with clinical symptoms depending on the type and amount they have eaten. In dogs, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, panting and restlessness and in severe cases, it can result in muscle tremors, seizures and heart failure. If you think they're safe with sugar-free sweets, think again, as they contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which is even more poisonous to pets than chocolate. Symptoms your pet may show include vomiting, loss of coordination and seizures. In severe cases, it can also cause liver failure. To avoid your pet eating any of the sweet stuff, Natures Menu advise you keep your treat bowl away from your pets. If you do suspect they may have ingested something toxic, ensure you call your vet immediately for advice. You can make sure your pet doesn't miss out on all the fun by giving them some pet-friendly treats of their own. Natures Menu has a range of treats that your cats and dogs will love, without being harmful to their health. In fact, a bone is ideal for calming nerves on Bonfire Night as the repetitive chewing motion releases serotonin '“ a chemical also known as '˜the feel-good' hormone which can help to promote relaxation.

- Decking out houses and loud bangs 

The best way to create a spooky atmosphere in your home is by candle light, however we need to be cautious as pets are attracted to bright lights in a darkened room. Candles should always be kept out of reach of pets and you should never leave your dog or cat in a room alone with a lit candle. Wagging tails and leaping cats have been known to cause small accidents and even fires from knocking over lit candles. We all love to deck our houses out for Halloween, but wires, clips and novel items can be too tempting to an avid chewer, so make sure you double check they're placed in a safe spot. Loud bangs from fireworks can scare your pet, causing them to become distressed. Help to reduce the noise and ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible by closing your windows and curtains, putting on some music or your TV and providing a place for them to hide. Your local veterinary practice can offer help and advice on calming aids and how to make a suitable hiding spot. Remember to approach them well-before the big celebrations begin as many calming aids should be used or administered in advance of the night itself.

- Halloween and Bonfire Night safety

Trick or treat is all part of the fun of Halloween, but the continuous opening and closing of the door, ringing of doorbells and fancy-dress costumes could give your pet an unexpected fright. To ensure your pet cannot bolt from your home when frightened by scary looking visitors, put them somewhere safe where they have no chance of escaping out of the open door and running off. Never leave your cat or dog outside during Bonfire Night. Make sure they are safely contained inside your house as the noise, flashing lights and trick or treaters can be distressing for them and could lead to them injuring themselves. As Bonfire Night celebrations can continue for a number of weeks, ensure your pet's microchip and collar have all your most recent information on, so should they get spooked and run away, they can be safely reunited with you. If you are having a bonfire at home, make sure you do not leave any sticks in the garden afterwards as they could cause your pet injuries such as wood splinters stuck under their gums and even the piercing of vital organs.

Melanie Sainsbury, Natures Menu veterinary nurse, said: 'Halloween and Bonfire Night is a fantastic occasion for many humans, but for pets it can be a really scary and distressing time, which we wanted to highlight to owners. Often pets misunderstand the excitement we have around these celebrations and can find the loud bangs, fancy dress and bonfires upsetting. With pet parents during this time indulging in sweet treats and displaying eye-catching decorations, we all need to be more cautious with our furry-friends this Autumn.

'All owners want the very best for their pets and these tips are a great way to help avoid any distressing situations and keep our four-legged friends healthy and happy.'