Halloween is loads of fun. However, joy can turn to tragedy if simple precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of your pets.
“Pets are curious by nature,” said Dr. Steve Hansen, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Hansen, whose department also includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, asks pet parents to be mindful of their pets this fall.
“Thinking about your home from your pet’s point of view will help ensure everyone has happy and safe holidays,” Hansen said. “Pets have the ability to get into everything, especially during the holidays when there is more to see and do.”
To ensure a happy and safe Halloween for you and your pets, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:
Ringing door bells and scary costumes The constant chatter and squeals are upsetting to some pets. If your dog or cat is skittish, confine them to a bedroom with the door shut and provide an interactive toy to keep them occupied.
Pet Costumes Chances are Snoopy and Snuggles will not think a costume is very cute. You know your pet better than anyone else so assess his comfort level. You may need to take the costume off after the photo opportunity. Be sure your pet will not overheat, the costume doesn’t have any dangly pieces that can easily be chewed off, and your pet can still breathe, meow and bark.
Escape artists Sometimes our best efforts are not enough and a pet gets out the door. Make sure Fluffy and Rover are always wearing collars with identification. If you have a microchip (we heartily recommend this) be certain you have registered with the microchip company and keep the information up to date.
Tricksters Keep your pets indoors on Halloween even if that is not your normal custom. Some adolescent tricksters think it is funny to scare your pet. Funky costumes can freak out your pet even if not intentional. Black cats are especially at risk on the weekends before and after Halloween as well as the actual day.
Candles The glow of candles inside pumpkins is festive. But curious cats and dogs can easily be injured or create a fire hazard. Be sure to keep a barrier between your pets and lighted decorations or use battery powered lights instead.
Dark and baker’s chocolate While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause your pet to have an upset stomach. On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine. Animals are extremely sensitive to both and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.
Xylitol This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly. This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.
“Healthy treats” Some people choose to hand out grapes and raisins as an alternative to all the candy. But be aware that grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion of these substances can lead to kidney failure for your dog or cat. We don’t even want to think about what could happen with chocolate covered raisins!
Candy wrappers Your pets will not unwrap treats first and those foil and cellophane wrappers can cause an intestinal blockage.
It pays to plan ahead. Remind your children that pets’ digestive systems are easily upset or compromised by food items humans can safely ingest. Be sure to have a ready supply of the treats your cats and dogs like and are accustomed to eating. Remember to meet the needs of your cats and dogs for interactive play, attention, brushing and loads of walks for your dogs so they will be calm before the potentially frightful night begins
If your pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call your vet or a local emergency animal hospital immediately. Other alternatives include the ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426- 4435 for a fee of $65.00 or the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 for a fee of $39.00.
Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC offers pet owners these helpful hints to keep pets out of danger, while still enjoying the food, fun and festivities that accompany Halloween.