October 2013 – Halloween safety tips for your pets

As fun and festive as Halloween can be for children, it can be a dangerous and stressful time for your pets. Follow this advice to keep your pets safe and healthy while enjoying the holiday with the rest of your family and friends:

Trick-or-treat candies can be poisonous for pets – All forms of chocolate can be poisonous and even life threatening for dogs and cats. If your pet ingests chocolate, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures.  Some candies contain the artificial sweetener xylitol.  Xylitol can be poisonous to dogs, and even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures.  While xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it’s better to be safe and keep the candy away.

Keep pets confined and away from the door on trick-or-treat night – Think about how scary it can be for your pets to view strangers dressed in unusual costumes knocking on your door over and over.  Dogs who are especially territorial may become anxious and growl.  Consider putting your pets in a secure room away from the door.  This will also prevent them from darting outside in a frightened state.

Make sure your pets carry the proper Identification – 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 and microchips are properly registered.

Don’t leave pets out in the yard on Halloween. Please bring your pets indoors – Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Black cats are especially at risk from pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. It is recommended to keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween.

Keep Halloween pumpkins and cornstalks 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. Also, never allow pets to get close to burning candles in pumpkins or otherwise.

Safeguard your pets from Halloween decoration electric cords and wires – The biggest danger is that your pet may chew a wire and receive an electrical shock or cut itself on shards of glass or plastic.

Think twice before dressing your pet in a costume as some pets feel stressed – Make sure the costume does not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow.  If your pet is noticeably unhappy while dressed, perhaps forego the costume altogether.

Please feel free to contact our office with your pet’s health related questions, to set up an appointment, or to tour our facility.

The Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors