No sweets for your sweetie on Halloween
By Shelley Horn | Tomorrow, all the ghouls and goblins will be out haunting the neighborhood. Don’t let a fun night turn into a nightmare for our pets. Halloween can be a fun night for we humans and our pets, but it can also present potential risks to our pets. Halloween is a holiday with many dangers for our dogs and cats.
No Sweets for your sweetie
Many of us know that chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats, even in small amounts, however, candy sweetened with xylitol can also be life threatening by dropping blood sugar levels to a dangerously low level. Additionally, wrappers and lollipop sticks can cause intestinal blockages if eaten. Keep the candy bowl up and away from reach.
Keep pumpkin away from the pumpkin
Halloween decorations are fun for humans but can pose risks to our pets. Candles can be dangerous not only as a fire risk to our homes but can also cause burns to our pets even those inside pumpkins which can be easily knocked over and potentially burning our loved ones. Additionally, fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, battery operated moving or talking decorations can lead to intestinal obstructions, diarrhea, or stomach ulcerations if ingested.
Costumes are optional
Dressing up is fun for humans, but may not be fun for our pets. We all love to watch our pets parading around in funny and cute costumes, but use caution when choosing a costume. If your pet tolerates a costume, keep in mind your pet must be comfortable at all times. Avoid any costumes that use rubber bands or anything that might constrict circulation or breathing. Likewise, avoid costumes with toxic paints, dyes, or that are edible.
Trick or Treater Greeters can be scary
Many of us love our neighborhood children Trick or Treaters showing off their costumes at our front doors, however, costumes on people can be scary to pets. Masks, large hats, and other costume accessories can confuse pets and may even trigger territorial instincts. It is not unusual for pets to act protective and fearful of people in costumes, even if they are normally very social with that person. Remember, you are responsible for controlling your pet and insuring that he/she doesn’t bite any guests.
Must show ID
Constant visitors to the door along with spooky sights and sounds may cause pets to escape. This is doubly true for cats. Even if they are allowed outside, they are more at risk for being hit by cars due to the high traffic from Trick or Treaters. Black cats, especially, are at a higher risk from human cruelty on Halloween. Consider keeping your cats in an interior room where they are unable to bolt out the door.
This is good time to having your pets Microchipped and tagged in case they get out.
Party Poopers are OK
With all the extra stimulus from this fun human holiday, some pets are happier in a quiet room away from the party and the repeated Trick or Treaters. Consider letting your dog or cat spend Halloween inside with special treats, safe and secure. Even in a fenced yard, Halloween is not a good night for a dog to be outside.
Enjoy Halloween, but remember to take some simple precautions to keep your pets safe.
Shelley A Horn, DVM, MBA
Managing DVM, Sea Island Animal Hospital