How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Halloween
By Dr. Sonia Sandhu, Veterinarian
1. Keep your pets away from Trick-Or-Treat Candy: Keep candy secured in a safe region where your pet doesn’t have access such as a high cabinet, secured with a lock. There are many toxins in Halloween candy which can make your pets severely ill including chocolate, gum and xylitol. All Chocolate (especially baking chocolate or dark chocolate) can be lethal for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate and seizures. Xylitol is found in many Halloween candies and is toxic to dogs. It can cause an acute decrease in your pet’s blood glucose, severe weakness, and lead to seizures.
It’s important to monitor your children and assure they are not sharing candy with their furry friends! Keep jack o’lanterns safely away from pets – while they are relatively non-toxic, rotting pumpkins can harbor moldy growth, causing your pet to become ill.
Be prepared in case an ingestion occurs, have the 24 hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center information accessible (888-426-4435).
2. Minimizing your pet’s stress: Keep your pets away from the front door in a quiet room where they can be secured safely, away from frequent strangers approaching your front door. Strangers at your door dressed in costumes can incite fear-aggression and escape attempts. To keep your pets safe, you may consider using a crate with a treat-filled toy to keep them occupied. For cats, consider Feliway spray. To avoid your doorbell from constantly ringing, and triggering your pets, you can station yourself outside to prevent trick-or-treaters from using the doorbell.
3. Halloween Costumes: are not advised for pets. If you choose for your pets to wear costumes – keep them to a minimum as they can be hazardous and uncomfortable for your pets depending on the type of costume. Pet masks can not only cause your pet discomfort, but can be hazardous. Costumes that hinder your pet’s vision, movement, reduce hearing, limit barking or meowing, are not recommended. Your pet should be supervised closely if wearing a costume.
4. Identification Tags: Keep your pet indoors on Halloween to avoid escape behaviors due to fear of strangers in costumes. It’s important to have ID tags on your pets with up-to-date contact information in case of escape. Identification tags will increase the chances of locating your pet. Keep a recent picture of your pet on file if needed for lost flyers.
5. Keep Halloween decorations away from pets: Halloween decor with electrical cords or those that are battery powered can pose danger to your pets. Pets can chew on electric cords which may cause burns and electrical shock. Pets often ingest pieces of plastic or toys, which can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction. If your pet chews up batteries, this can cause severe chemical burns. All of the above incidents require immediate veterinary care.
Please be safe, and responsible for your pets. Remember Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital is open 24/7/365 for pet emergencies.