Pet Safety Tricks and Treats for Halloween!

Orange lights, costumes and Jack-O-Lanterns – that’s right, it’s Halloween again! For many of us Halloween brings us warm memories of spooky fun but from the perspective of our furry loved ones it may be anything but pleasant.

In reviewing articles posted from the ASPCA and ASPCA PRO websites, the Purina Company website and the Halloween Safety Guide website, we have compiled a list of four of the most common dangers this holiday presents to our pets.

  1. Candy and Treats
  • Of course, we all know that chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is dangerous for dogs to ingest. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Many types of Halloween candy have chocolate in them so guard that candy bowl.
  • One concern which people don’t always acknowledge is that ANY candy is bad for our dogs to ingest and it is NOT kind to share! Again, expect vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Another concern is sugar-free candy sweetened with xylitol which some people substitute for regular Halloween candy. This may be great for the people celebrating sensibly but for dogs it could be deadly! Please keep all candy, sugar-free included, out of your dog’s reach.
  • Also, even the empty wrappers can be a problem. We have all seen our pups snag wrappers out of the trash to lick the last taste off them and then what happens if you don’t take the wrapper away? It gets eaten! Dogs’ intestinal tracts can be seriously damaged by foil or other wrappers that have been eaten.
  • Last on this list of edibles that are harmful to dogs are, according to the AKC, raisins. Keep them out of reach.
  1. Decorations
  • The most common decorations typically seen for Halloween are carved pumpkins which often have a lit candle inside them to make them glow at night. The dangers are obvious – candles can be knocked over by rambunctious pups, swishing tails or curious kitties with disastrous results.
  • One common call to vets and animal poison control on Halloween night, according to the ASPCA PRO, is what to do when a dog ingests a glow stick or glowing jewelry. The liquid that glows inside the sticks will cause a ‘mild and self-limiting taste reaction’. The article suggested that you take the animal into a darkened room and see if there is still some of the glowing liquid on them. If so wipe it off with a soapy cloth so the dog won’t keep licking it and getting sick again.
  • Strings of lights and puppies or kittens don’t mix! Not only might they be chewed on, but a kitten’s playful paws or a pup’s wagging tail can easily break bulbs which in turn could cause all kinds of problems from a mess to clean up to a serious injury or electrocution.
  • For the most part, the non-electric decorations used for Halloween such as pumpkins, dried corn and wheat or corn stalks are non-toxic for pets but could cause some gastric distress if eaten.
  1. Costumes
  • We all love the way our pets look in costumes but do THEY like being in costume? Some animals don’t mind and some do actually like it but you need to watch for signs of anxiety. You know your furry friends better than anyone else so if they are hesitant and anxious putting them in a costume may be an injustice to them. Which is more important, your pet’s well being or a cute photo op?
  • Even for pets that like costumes there are still some dangers inherent in a pet wearing a costume. Before letting them wear any costume for any length of time make sure that they can breathe properly, see properly, and that no part of the costume could catch on something or in anyway choke your loved one.
  • The other issue for our pets concerning costumes is that it may be very frightening to them being surrounded by all these people with odd shaped hats, heads, ‘tails’ – all these things that distort the way people normally look, especially ‘their’ people. Just be aware of how it may effect your pet.
  1. Trick or Treaters
  • My favorite part of the holiday is answering the door to all those princesses and ghosts that ring our bell. Unfortunately for our four-legged friends it can be nerve wracking having that doorbell ring every few minutes for 2 or 3 hours. One of my dogs would bark herself hoarse until I learned to put her in a back bedroom away from the commotion with the TV on to lessen the noise. Having a ‘safe room‘ or ‘quite room’ in your house is a great kindness for our fur children.
  • Another concern with that front door opening and closing all evening is that of escape. On an evening as crazy as Halloween, even dogs or cats who are indoor/outdoor pets may be frightened and become disoriented if they slip outdoors. If there is a possibility that your dog or cat may get out accidentally, make sure that they are wearing their collar and identification or are chipped in case he or she gets lost.
  • Last of all, if you are a proud kitty mom or dad, especially of a black cat, it is best to keep your baby in a safe place inside for the last few days leading up to Halloween as well as Halloween night because of the rise in ritual abuse or even killing of black cats at this time of year.

With a little preparation you and your furry friends will have a safe and fun holiday. Happy Halloween!   

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