Fireworks, Candy Corn, Ghouls, Haunted Houses, and Costumes. What do these five things have in common? They’re all part of Halloween!
To celebrate the upcoming spooky holiday, here are some tips to keep your pet safe this Halloween.
1. Hide the Chocolate
Everyone knows that chocolate isn’t safe for dogs – but sometimes people forget to keep it out of reach on Halloween. Even small amounts of chocolate can be harmful to dogs so be sure that your treat bucket is kept high and out of Rover’s reach. Symptoms of canine chocolate toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heartbeat and/or breathing, shaking, muscle rigidity, seizures, and increased body temperature. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate! If it is after-hours, contact your nearest veterinary animal emergency clinic without delay. Here is a handy dog chocolate toxicity meter (for informational purposes only – call your vet if you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate): http://www.petmd.com/dog/chocolate-toxicity
2. No Candy!
Large amounts of sugary candy can provoke pancreatitis in dogs which may not show up for 2-4 days after ingestion. Do not let your dog eat any candy! Pets that have ingested candy may show symptoms such as decreased appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, vomiting, and even kidney failure or organ damage. If your dog has eaten a large amount of candy, call your vet.
3. Candy Wrappers
Ingestion of large amounts of foil and cellophane wrappers can cause dangerous bowel obstructions, which may require surgical removal. Keep an eye out for vomiting, decreased appetite, not defecating, straining to defecate, or lethargy.
Fireworks are VERY dangerous for pets (and people)! Do not bring your dog to your backyard or the park where there will be fireworks. Not only are they terrifying for your dog (the sight and sound), they can occasionally light too early or veer in the wrong direction causing potentially life-threatening injuries. If your dog experiences severe anxiety due to the fireworks and costumes that are common this time of year, speak to your veterinarian about your options. Some dogs may require oral tranquilizers.
Some people hand out raisins to kids in an effort to provide healthier Halloween snacks. While these dried delights can be good for children, even small amounts can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. (Avoid grapes too). Some dogs develop idiosyncratic reactions at any dose—any amount can cause serious damage. Keep an eye out for vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, and kidney failure.
6. Glowsticks and Jewelry
Pets love to chew on things they’re not supposed to, and cats seem to love these flashy items. In addition to the choking hazard, the contents of glow sticks can cause pain and irritation in the mouth. Look out for mouth pain as well as severe drooling or foaming at the mouth.
Another word of caution: Costumes are fun and there are very cute and silly options available for your pet but ensure that you prioritize your pet’s safety. Do not cover their eyes, or tie costumes onto your pet too tightly to restrict movement or breathing. Only use costumes specifically designed for your pet’s type and size.