Halloween Dangers for Pets

Halloween Safety Tips for Animals

-Halloween is a very spooky time of year, follow these simple rules to avoid any big scares with your four legged friends! 

— No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for your pets! Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be fatal for dogs and cats. Candies containing  xylitol can also cause problems. Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis, which may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. And ALWAYS avoid raisins! If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian.

What to watch for: Symptoms in dogs that have ingested chocolate include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and, in severe cases, seizures. Pets that have ingested candy may show signs such as decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and even kidney failure or organ damage.

Also, be aware of the wrappers that the candy leaves behind. The sweet smell is still on them, which will attract your pet! This can be very dangerous, not only is it a choking hazard, but it can cause damage to the organs! 

What to watch for: Symptoms in pets that have ingested candy wrappers include vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy.

— 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. Pumpkin does have some healthy benefits for animals, it has been used for both weight loss and to help with an upset stomach or diarrhea in dogs. So be aware that if your pets ingest pumpkin, they may appear to be sick for a few days after. 

— A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens and wagging tails especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames. 

— Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock. This one is a year-round rule- but especially important during Halloween and Christmas!! 

— Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

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 letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

  • While viewed as fun and adorable for some pet owners, caution is advised when putting a costume on a pet. A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.
  • Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and pain in the area of the elastic.
  • Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and ingest it. This could cause intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed.
  • If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.

 Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have 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. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

  • Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place on Halloween.
  • Strangers in costume – some animals may become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.

— NAMETAGS, please! 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. Remember, micro-chipping saves lives! 

— Keep your pets indoors on Halloween night, especially black cats and dogs. Animals are at risk for cruel treatment by some Halloween pranksters. Many adoption agencies and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween for this reason.  **Warning** There have been rumors online that a few creeps in random cities will be soaking hot dogs in antifreeze. Please use caution when taking your dog outside. If you have any outdoor pets, consider keeping them inside for the few days surrounding Halloween. 

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