Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year and were suggest taking the necessary precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!”.
- No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for furry family members. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or animal poison control at (855) 764-7661.
- Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
- Keep electric lights and cords from decorations out of the reach of your pets. If they chew on them, they could suffer from cuts or burns, or worse, life-threatening electrical shock.
- Be extra careful when putting candles in carved pumpkins. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
- Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). But, for most pets, wearing anything but their “birthday suit” causes them undue stress so do everyone a favor and leave the dressing up to us humans.
- But… If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider a festive bandana or bow instead.
- Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
- All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
- When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, make sure your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.
- Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he or she will be returned to you safely.
By: Yasuko Stephens, DVM