Don’t let Halloween Become a Horror for Your Pets

Kids and adults love celebrating Halloween with costumes, candy, trick-or-treating and parties, but your pets may not enjoy it as much. In fact, it could end up being harmful to their health.

All those fun things we associate with the holiday can end up becoming a horror for your pets. Colorful decorations and tasty candy can be toxic to pets and could cause illness or even death. Costumes for your pets and those worn by family members, visitors and strangers can really stress your pet out. And opening and closing doors for trick-or-treaters offer an escape route for indoor pets.

Here are some tips to help keep your family pets safe this Halloween.

Pet Costumes

Many pets dislike being put into a costume and will show you by attempting to get out of it or by acting shamed. If your pets find dressing up distressing then don’t do it. If you do decide to dress your pets, their safety and comfort should be your first concern. Make sure the material isn’t flammable or constricting and watch for signs of overheating. Don’t leave your pet unattended while in costume. An even better idea is to choose a Halloween-themed collar or colorful claw covers for your cat.

Leave Your Dog Home

You might think your dog would love walking the neighborhood with you and the kids, but costumes can be frightening for your dog who may react by attempting to bite someone. Or your dog may get loose and your evening will be ruined by a search and rescue mission. Your safest bet is to leave Fido at home.

Pet Safe Room

Most pets will be safest and calmest on Halloween or during a party by being placed in a quiet room away from all the activity. Make sure they have water, food, bedding, litter boxes, etc., and maybe even some special treats or toys.

Dangerous Decorations

Some festive decorations can hurt your pets. Watch out for these:

  • String, ribbon, yarn and tinsel can harm your pets if eaten.
  • Candles are dangerous for cats who may try and play with them or may brush up against them. Wagging dog tails can knock over candles so keep the candles out of reach.
  • Carved pumpkins can make pets sick if they eat too much.
  • Aging carved pumpkins can harbor bacteria. Cats and dogs can get sick if they decide to take a bite.

Toxic Treats

Candy is bad for pets. High sugar candy can cause severe gas and diarrhea. Chocolate is toxic and most dangerous of all is any treat that contains the artificial sweetener Xylitol. It is safe for people, but is deadly for cats and dogs.

These are the worst Halloween treats for your pets:

  • Candy corn and other super sweet treats: All that sugar will make them sick.
  • Chocolate: It’s toxic to cats and dogs and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.
  • Chocolate covered raisins: This can be a deadly combination for pets. The chocolate is toxic and raisins and other grape products can cause severe kidney failure. Call your veterinarian immediately if ingested by pets.
  • Candy wrappers: Pets will eat candy wrappers. Plastic and foil wrappers are hazardous and can block intestines and irritate the GI tract.
  • Hard candy: Not only are these a choking hazard for small children, but also for pets. Slippery, hard candy can easily be inhaled and block the wind pipe.
  • Sugar-free gum: In pets, Xylitol causes a severe drop in blood pressure in minutes. If your pet survives this, they often suffer severe liver damage or potentially fatal liver failure.

If you believe your pet has eaten toxic treats, call your veterinarian or nearby emergency animal care center immediately to determine what course of action to take.

The Veterinary Medical Board advises you to take some precautions this year to ensure your pet has a safe and happy Halloween. You can check your veterinarian’s license on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ website by clicking HERE.

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