Safety tips for pets on Halloween

With all the candy, costumes and candles, pet owners should be sure their furry family members are safe this Halloween.

 

“Halloween has become such a huge tradition and is shared by kids and adults alike. If everyone is enjoying the evening, then certainly our pets may be a part of the fun,” said veterinarian Glenn Buckley, owner of Pet Rescue Rx, an online veterinary pharmacy that donates profits to an animal shelter or rescue of your choice.

Being scared is part of the tradition, but consider your pet’s well-being.

“We know what is going on but our pets may not understand all the different sights and sounds, and this may be very upsetting to them,” Buckley said. “It is probably best to leave them at home when you go out for the evening. Remember, a scared dog is a confused dog, and a confused dog may sit and shake or hide but they also may run away. This may result in them getting lost or suffering serious injury.”

A constantly-ringing doorbell and kids coming and going can upset or confuse your pet, said veterinarian Justine A. Lee, an emergency critical care specialist and chief executive officer of VetGirl. Keep your dog crated or put your pet away from the action in a quiet room with soothing white noise like a fan running, Lee said.

Say no to candy

Chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats and is one of the most common causes of poisoning, Lee said. The amount and type of chocolate ingested as well as the size of the animal affect how sick your pet may get.

“In general, the darker and more bitter, the more dangerous,” Lee said.

While chocolate is a known danger, “all candy could possibly cause them to experience vomiting and diarrhea,” Buckley said.

Another serious risk is candy or gum that contains the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is common in sugar-free treats, Buckley said. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can lead to seizures, coma and death.

Here’s another reason for kids to dislike the neighbor who hands out those little boxes of raisins: Some dogs who eat raisins will suffer kidney failure, Lee said.

“Keep your candy stash out of reach in a cabinet or elevated on a shelf where your dog can’t get to it,” Lee said.

“If you think you have it high enough, just move it a little higher. I have been told some amazing stories over the years by dog owners who were just amazed their pet was able to get the bowl when they thought it would be safe. Maybe (in) the refrigerator is a good option,” Buckley said.

Costume concerns

“Be mindful of costumes and any parts which a dog or cat may ingest. Dogs will eat anything and think about it afterward. … Cats like strings, ribbons and small things that roll or make noise. These have the potential to become gastrointestinal issues and cause a blockage in the intestine or stomach,” Buckley said.

If you’re dressing up your pet, “remember that a pet is like a 2-year-old child. They need to be watched,” because costumes can become tangled, ingested or cause other injury, Buckley said. “If they do not seem to enjoy wearing the devil horns you bought for them, I would just pass on it altogether,” he said.

 

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