Halloween 2016: Keeping Pets Safe

Dr. Katy Drain has been a veterinarian in Tuscaloosa for 15 years.  She graduated from the University of Alabama as an undergraduate and attended Auburn University for her doctorate of veterinary medicine.  Dr. Drain works with all types of pets from cats and dogs (of course!) to pigs and goats, and even some exotics.

Halloween is a spooky time for pets.  There are lots of unfamiliar people milling about in costumes, weird smells and doorbells galore. 

While it may be fun for us (and super fun to put pets in costumes to take photos with pumpkins), it can be scary for them. Here are some of the ways to make Halloween a safe and pleasant holiday for your pet.


For especially nervous animals, the parade of costumed kids and endlessly chiming doorbells can get to be too much for comfort. For nervous or anxious pets, put them in their crate or kennel – or in another room in the house, so they’ll feel safe. And remember: Even if your dog wouldn’t typically bite, some dogs react by biting or growling at strangers out of fear, or because they are protecting their owner(s).

Also, even if your pet is typically an inside pet, attach your contact information to their collar. It is not uncommon for pets to become confused and run away with the many visitors and open doors.

Finally, decorations and Jack-O'-Lanterns are tempting for pets to get their noses into. Needless to say, it's too easy for them to get hurt if left unsupervised, whether it's in a tangle of crepe paper or a singed coat from an open flame. Curious kittens are particularly at risk of becoming burned. Always keep these Halloween favors out of your pet's reach!

It might seem like fun to let them try some human treats. But not only are some candies toxic, pets can have allergic reactions to them. So don’t share your candy with your pets.  And remember that unfamiliar dog treats might set off an allergic type of reaction in some pets.

A final note: If your pet has severe stress or anxiety with changes from their normal routine (like trick-or-treaters, costumes and sounds) contact your veterinarian for more suggestions to keep your four-legged friend safe.




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Hanson Watkins

Ms. Watkins graduated from Mountain Brook High School and lives in Birmingham with her two boys, Jack, and Charlie. She has bachelor's degrees in psychology and creative writing from Emory University, and an MBA and master's in health administration from Georgia State University. 
Hanson spent 10 years working in the healthcare industry in Atlanta before moving back to Birmingham several years ago to work for her father, Jim Watkins. 
She credits her father, who has owned several businesses over the years, for giving her the entrepreneurial spirit. Her brother, Josh Watkins, is a Birmingham lawyer who helped start the Birmingham Angel Network, a venture capital organization. 

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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