Halloween can be a frighteningly good time, but the festivities can also pose many dangers to your pet. To protect your furry pal from Halloween’s potential horrors, follow our Adamson Veterinary Services team’s tips for a fun, safe holiday.
Halloween horror #1: Your pet binges on your candy stash
Pro safety tip: Finding that your Halloween candy stash has been depleted is scary enough, but when the culprit is your pet, the situation becomes terrifying. Many popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets, and the wrappers can also pose a threat by creating a gastrointestinal blockage. Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common issues animal poison control hotlines experience on Halloween. If your pet ingests chocolate, they can experience diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, seizures, and heart problems. Sugar-free candies and gums are another common Halloween hazard. Sweetened with xylitol—rather than with sugar—these treats can be especially dangerous for dogs. If your pet ingests even a small amount of a treat that contains xylitol, they can experience a severe drop in blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, or death.
Keep your pet safe from sweet—and potentially deadly—Halloween treats by placing your candy bowl out of their reach when trick-or-treaters are not at your door. Remember, no matter how much your furry pal begs, do not share your candy stash with them. Keep all candy securely in a cabinet well out of your pet’s reach, and throw away all your wrappers as soon as you are done. If you want your pet to enjoy a treat while you are munching on yours, offer them safe treats such as small bites of banana, cooked chicken breast or salmon, cheese, yogurt, or xylitol-free peanut butter.
Halloween horror #2: Your pet darts out the front door
Pro safety tip: If your pet is a known door dasher, a large trick-or-treating group can be a major safety hazard. While you are distracted—oohing and aahing over the adorable or scary costumes—your pet may slip out the door. Halloween night can be especially dangerous for pets, as pranksters are out looking to create mischief, which can include hurting frightened animals.
Prevent your pet from running away on this most-frightening night of the year by keeping them away from all your home’s exits—especially the front door. Put up a pet gate, or create your pet’s safe haven away from the commotion. Secure your four-legged friend in a back bedroom with their cozy bed, a long-lasting treat, and a favorite toy. Play soft music or turn on a TV to help drown the noise coming from the front door.
To further prevent your pet’s photo from ending up on a missing pet poster, have them microchipped. A microchip provides your pet with permanent identification that cannot fall off or become illegible, unlike collar ID tags. Once your pet is microchipped, keep your contact information up to date with the registration company, which increases the likelihood of a happy reunion with your pet if they run away.
Halloween horror #3: Your pet becomes entangled in their costume
Pro safety tip: Although your furry pal is sure to win the most-adorable pet prize when decked out in their Halloween costume, their outfit may pose a hazard. Ill-fitting costumes can block your pet’s vision or airway, or restrict their mobility. In addition, your pet may chew off small costume adornments, swallowing buttons, zippers, or ties that may require surgical removal.
Protect your pet from the horror of being crammed in a too-small costume. Afterall, your pet always looks their best in their birthday suit. If you simply cannot resist adding some festive flair to your pet’s look, tie a Halloween-themed bandana around their neck, or swap out their usual collar for one adorned with pumpkins or ghosts. However, if your pet enjoys dressing up—before the big night—ensure your furry pal can move comfortably in their costume by having them give the outfit a trial run. Check for slippage, and monitor your pet’s breathing while they wear their costume. If they appear distressed or uncomfortable, remove your pet’s costume, and let them go au naturel for the holiday.
Halloween horror #4: Your pet investigates your frightening decor
Pro safety tip: Your Halloween decor may be more than spooky to your pet—the items can be downright dangerous. Jack-o’-lanterns with burning candles can lead to singed whiskers or—more serious—fires. In addition, do not leave a jack-o’-lantern out until the pumpkin’s face becomes withered and the inside becomes rotten, because your pet can experience gastrointestinal upset if they eat the spoiled vegetation. Your cat may become particularly interested in a fake spiderweb, but if they swallow the fibers, they may experience a gastrointestinal foreign body, which requires surgical removal. Shrieking ghouls and motion-activated ghosts can frighten even the most stalwart pets, causing them to run in a blind panic—potentially injuring themselves.
Keep your pet safe from scary decor by blocking their access to burning candles or items they might ingest. If your pet shows anxiety or fear signs when faced with motion-activated decorations or a loud, chilling soundtrack, opt for milder decor. Place swooping ghosts outdoors to frighten passersby—not your pet.
Take precautions to keep your pet safe on fright night. However, if Halloween becomes a scary emergency for your furry pal, give our Adamson Veterinary Services team a call.
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