Halloween Safety Tips For Your Pet

halloween petHalloween is a very exciting and fun time for children and adults, but it can be a frightening and stressful event for your four legged friends.  Here are some things to keep in mind to help your Halloween experience be a happy one.

Even though we love to see the variety of costumes that come to our door or that are out and about in the neighborhood, some animals can become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful with no warning, even pets that are normally very friendly.  If you are unsure of how your pet will react, we recommend that you keep them in a bedroom or other safe place with a radio or television on during trick or treating.  Sometimes the continual ringing of the doorbell and/or knocking on the door can be enough to stress out the most laid back pets.

Jack-O’-Lanterns and pumpkins make a great decoration but can be very dangerous with an open flame when there are children and wagging tails around. We recommend that instead of candles or other open flames you opt to use battery operated alternatives.

Unfortunately, there are pranksters out there that think animal cruelty is part of Halloween.  Please keep your pets indoors, especially black cats!  Many rescue groups and humane society will not adopt out black cats close to Halloween for this very reason.  If you witness any animal cruelty, please inform the authorities immediately!

Don’t forget to wear something reflective or something that lights up while you are out trick or treating past dark. It’s also very important that your pet has the proper attire as well. Consider a reflective collar and/or jacket for your four legged friends that go along trick or treating. Double check that your pet has all the proper identification on their collar: updated tags with name, address, and best phone number to be reached quickly incase they get separated from you. Microchips are another great way to keep your pet safe.

Halloween candy is oh so yummy, but oh so toxic for our furry loved ones!  Advise your children not to share their treats with your pets.  Candies, gums, mints, most baked goods, and chocolate can cause severe illness and possible death.  Items containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol are extremely poisonous, causing rapid low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs and possibly other animals.  And remember, chocolate is toxic to pets!!  Signs of chocolate toxicity can include nervousness, vomiting, tremors, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death.  Call us, or an Emergency Animal Hospital immediately if you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate.  Candies that have a stick or a plastic component are also hazardous because they can cause intestinal obstructions and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

With a little preparation, you can make this holiday a non-event for your pet.  And as always, if you dress up your pet for the occasion, practically all vets enjoy getting pictures of their patients having fun!


Article contributed by Family Veterinary Hospital of Stone Ridge, (family-vet.com) 703-327-8425



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