Halloween Pet Safety TIps

Halloween can be a festive and fun time for children and families. But for pets? Let’s face it, it can be a downright nightmare. Forgo the stress and dangers this year by following these tips.

Trick or treat candies are not for pets.
All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Surprisingly, vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Inexcusable? YES! But preventable nonetheless.

Keep pets confined and away from the door.
Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for their candy. This, of course, is scary for our furry friends. Dogs are especially territorial and may become anxious and growl at innocent trick or treaters. Putting your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door will also prevent them from darting outside into the night… a night no one wants to be searching for a loved one.

Keep your outdoor cats inside for several days before AND several days after Halloween.
Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.

Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach.
Although they are relatively nontoxic, such plants can induce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed.

Don’t keep lit pumpkins around pets.
Should they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.

Keep wires and electric cords out of reach.
Most people love to decorate for Halloween, but with most decorations, those come with cords and wires. If chewed, your pet could cut himself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life threatening electrical shock.

Try on pet costumes before the big night.
If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go without the costume. Festive bandanas may work for pets that do not want to be dressed up!

IDs, please!
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet has a microchip.

Don’t dress up your pet unless you know they will like it.
Pets look cute dressed in costumes, but they might not enjoy it as much as their owners. If you do dress your pet in a costume, be sure it doesn’t impair his vision, movement, or air intake. If the costume contains metallic beads, snaps, or other small pieces, be aware that if ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Also, don’t be tempted to dye or apply coloring to your pet’s fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to humans, it could still be harmful to pets.

Grapes and Raisins are poisonous to dogs.
Some people prefer to distribute healthy snacks instead of candy on Halloween, such as mini boxes of raisins. These are extremely poisonous to dogs! Very small amounts of raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs, and potentially cats. When it comes to your pets, raisins deserve the same pet proofing treatment as chocolate, stored in containers far from their reach. Symptoms or ingestion poisoning include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure.

Keep an eye out on those candy wrappers!
Generally when pets eat candy, they don’t bother to remove the wrappers. Ingestion of foil and cellophane can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which if severe, can require surgical intervention to correct. Watch for vomiting. Decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy. X-Rays may be necessary to diagnose this problem.

Glow sticks and glow jewelry can be harmful!
Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these items. While not usually life-threatening, their contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth, as well as profuse drooling and foaming.

Watch those candles closely!
Keep candles out of the reach of curious noses and wagging tails. Sometimes pets don’t realize something is hot until they get burned.