Keeping Your Pets Safe this Halloween Season
Halloween can be a wonderful holiday for children and adults alike. Many people love to enjoy this festive season with the entire family, including their pets.
To make sure your pet stays safe and enjoys this holiday, we offer the following advice:
Keep Those Halloween Treats Far Out of Pets’ Reach: Halloween candies are the source of several dangers to our animal family members. Most owners are aware that chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains caffeine as well as a toxin called Theobromine that in high enough doses can be very toxic to our animal companions. Toxicity is based on the amount of cocoa ingested (dark chocolate contains more) vs. the weight of the pet.
“Healthier” Halloween treat may contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol which is extremely toxic to dogs. Ingestion is a veterinary emergency and can even be fatal to our canine friends.
Over indulgence in candy (or other holiday treats), even those that don’t contain chocolate or xylitol, can cause gastric upset or even a dangerous condition called pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). These can be serious enough to warrant a trip to the veterinary clinic or even a hospital stay!
Finally, candy wrappers also pose a risk to indulgent pets. Most pets don’t bother to unwrap the candy that they sneak off with. Ingested wrappers can be very irritating to the intestinal tract and in some cases could even result in an intestinal blockage. Note that even empty candy wrappers are attractive to our pets as they still smell like the treats they once contained.
Beware of Raisins and Grapes: While raisins make for a sweet, healthy alternative to Halloween candies, they can be very dangerous to our pets. Grapes and raisins are poisonous to many dogs (and potentially cats). Toxicity can be severe enough to cause kidney damage or even death in some cases. Experts are still not sure how much grape material is required for toxicity or why some pets react more profoundly than others, so all grape/raisin ingestion is considered a veterinary emergency.
Watch Out for Halloween Plants: Pumpkins, gourds, and corn are traditional Halloween foods and decorations. While eating properly prepared pumpkins, squash and corn is relatively harmless for our pets, in some situations they can be dangerous. Corn cobs are very attractive to dogs. If ingested, cobs very may get stuck in the pet’s intestinal tract and require surgery to remove. Similarly, decorative gourds/squash can be chewed up in large chunks that can get bound up in the intestines. Finally, festive carved Jack o’ Lanterns often start to mold before they are thrown out. If ingested these molds can make our pets ill. Some molds called mycotoxins can even cause neurologic problems in dogs and cats.
Keep Glow Sticks Away from Pets: Glow sticks and glow jewelry are fun and can help keep us safe during Halloween activities. While the glowing liquid inside is not toxic, if chewed and ingested it can be very irritating to our pets’ mouths. Ingestion can lead to oral irritation, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and even vomiting. Additionally, ingested plastics can lead to gastric irritation or even intestinal blockage.
Be Careful with Halloween Decorations: Decorations are a traditional addition to Halloween festivities. They are fun for us but can be scary or even dangerous to our pets. Pets can be intimidated by decorations, especially those with eyes, faces, or moving parts. Be sure to introduce pets to decorations slowly using positive reinforcement. Many decorations also require electrical cords or batteries, both of which can be very dangerous if our pets chew on them!
Beware of Costumes: As adorable as our pets are when dressed up, not all pets enjoy wearing costumes. They can be irritating, scary, or even painful to our pets. Some pets may panic when placed in a costume, which can lead to injury. Humans in costume can be very scary to our pets, too. Make sure to introduce your pet slowly to costumed guests and read the pet’s body language. Better yet, find a safe space for your pet to stay if people come over in costume.
Keep Candles Out of Pets’ Reach: Candles are common in Halloween decorations. Remember that your pet does not recognize the danger that candles pose, and they may accidentally burn themselves or knock candles over.
Give Your Pet a Safe Space During Halloween Activities: Trick or Treating and Halloween Parties are fun for us but can be very scary to our pets. Make sure that your pets have safe space in the house away from trick or treaters at the front door, or party goers in the house. It is also advisable to keep your pets indoors during activities to prevent panicking pets from escaping from the yard.
Make Sure Your Pets Have ID Tags and Microchips: Finally, make sure that your pet has an updated ID tag and (even better) a microchip with updated information. In the event that your pet does escape during holiday festivities, this will make it easy for them to get back home if found.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us! We are happy to answer any questions you may have!