Many of us enjoy Halloween, whether we are kids yelling, "Trick or Treat” for candy or adults dressing up. While we are planning the festivities, we must look out for the safety of our pets, too. Keep reading for a list of ways to protect your pets from common Halloween treats and situations.
Be sure to keep phone numbers for your vet and emergency clinic handy – put those into your phone now. You can post these numbers in a conspicuous place in your home for family, friends and for your pet sitter. We have provided phone numbers at the bottom of this article for pet poison control centers for reference.
Candy and Gum ? Most candy and gum contain sugar. In pets, sugar (also High Fructose Corn Syrup) can affect digestive health, cause tooth decay and obesity, and lead to diabetes. Many “sugar-free” candies and gums contain Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) which can be deadly to dogs and cats. If you suspect your pet has ingested Xylitol, contact your vet immediately.
Chocolate and Caffeine ? These favorites, even in the smallest amounts, can cause illness and death in pets. Dark and baking chocolate are especially dangerous to pets. The symptoms of consuming these toxic treats are dramatic and require a veterinarian's immediate testing and intervention. Pets can die within 24 hours of eating chocolate or caffeine.
Grapes and Raisins ? Grapes and raisins are toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure. Be on the lookout for candy and baked goods containing raisins and boxes of raisins.
Alcohol ? Much like any poisonous substance, alcohol can cause vomiting and diarrhea. The central nervous system is affected and can cause difficulty breathing, tremors, interfere with coordination, altered blood chemistry, coma and even death. Some people find an intoxicated pet funny, but alcohol can result in devastating consequences.
Tobacco and Marijuana ? These products can affect pets' nervous systems and lead to death.
Costumes ? Many pet owners enjoy dressing their dogs and cats in costumes, especially for Halloween. If your pet doesn't mind wearing the costume, ensure that the attire does not constrict movement. The pet should be able to hear and breathe normally, eat and bark or meow. If the pet seems to panic, suffer allergies, or show abnormal behavior, remove the costume. A decorative collar, harness or bandana might be the best option. Be sure to let your dog or cat try the costume and grow accustomed to the garb before the hectic holiday.
Decorations ? If you have pets, you know that your home's decor is often dictated by wagging tails or leaping cats. During this holiday season, consider battery-powered candles. Pets can burn themselves or cause a fire with traditional candles. Monitor your pets around decorative spider webs, rubber rats and other fun holiday traditions. String can cause digestive problems if ingested, especially if you don't know what happened and the pet seems to be in pain. This can result in severe pain, death, or a dangerous and expensive emergency surgery.
Doorbell ? A ringing door bell and the squeals of excited children can torment a pet. Dogs often want to be involved in family activities, and cats get spooked. Both have raced through front doors to escape noise and hysteria. Secure pets in a room far from outside doors. Turning on a radio or television in the room can buffer trick-or-treaters or guests at a Halloween party. You do not want to stress pets more by making them feel trapped.
Children and Guests ? Costumed children can scare unsuspecting dogs and cats. Protect the kids and guests from bites and scratches by putting your pets safely behind closed doors.
Outdoors ? Not everyone who goes out on Halloween has good intentions. Some cause mischief. Others tease, hurt, steal or kill pets on Halloween night. So, keep your pets inside and bring outdoor pets, especially black cats, inside several days before Halloween and keep them inside for a few days after the holiday. If your pets don't like staying inside, consider putting them in a barn or garage and check on your pets often.
Identification ? Be sure you take time to check and update tags and microchips or GPS trackers. If your furry family member is scared and bolts outside, you want to give it every opportunity return safely. Provide a way for the person who finds your pet to get it home safely.
At Wagz ‘n Whiskerz, we are committed to caring for your pets safely, so call us to schedule regular or holiday visits.
Canine Journal – Dogs and Marijuana
One Green Planet – Poison Control Hotlines
ASPCA Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline (800) 213-6680