October 14, 2012
It is time for Halloween festivities, but don’t forget that our pets can truly be “spooked” by all of the noises and costumes. Halloween is a holiday that can be fun and dangerous for our dogs and cats. I know I am repeating a lot of what I said this time last year, but it seems important enough to garner repetition.
No matter how many warnings go out in print or on the internet, every year we see sick dogs and cats a day or two after Halloween. These poor fellows have inevitably gotten into someone’s bag of candy. As you probably know, chocolate can be toxic to pets and even small amounts can cause heart problems and vomiting. Candy that is artificially sweetened with Xylitol® can cause low blood sugar in dogs and has been implicated in liver failure as well. Lollipop sticks and foil wrappers can become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract, causing painful obstructions. So, be diligent and keep that candy out of reach of your dog and cat.
Some Halloween decorations can be unsafe as well. Fake cobwebs or anything resembling a string can be tempting to cats. String-like objects can become lodged in your cat’s intestines and cause a deadly obstruction. Candles inside of pumpkins are easily knocked over, burning your pet or even starting a fire.
Dressing up is fun for people, but may not be very fun for our pets. If you are thinking of dressing up your pet this year, there are some things to 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 or dyes. If your pet appears uncomfortable in any way, allow him to dress up in his “birthday suit”.
You might not realize it, but 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 or be fearful of people in costumes, even if they normally are very social with that person.
Remember, you are responsible for controlling your pet and insuring that he does not bite any of the neighbourhood ghosts.
The excitement of the day may be too much for even the best-behaved dog. Constant visitors to the door as well as the spooky sights and sounds may cause some pets to become fearful. These pets could run away and become injured in a variety of ways. Consider allowing your dog to spend Halloween in his own special place inside with special treats, safe and secure from the goblins. Even if you have a fenced yard, Halloween is definitely not a good night for your dog to be outside without supervision and restraint.
With a little extra care, you can have a great night of trick-or-treat while making sure your four legged child is safe and secure.