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home : health : health July 19, 2018

10/24/2017 1:12:00 PM
Make Halloween safe for your pets
Keep your beloved pet out of the Halloween candy. It can be toxic. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee
+ click to enlarge
Keep your beloved pet out of the Halloween candy. It can be toxic. photo by Jodi Schneider McNamee

By Jodi Schneider McNamee

Halloween can be loads of fun for kids and adults. And as spooky little monsters, ghosts and ghouls begin their trick-or-treating, it can be the scariest night of the year, especially for your pets.

For all the fun Halloween offers for kids, it can be unsettling and even dangerous for pets. But here are some common-sense precautions to keep in mind for your furry friend's safety this year.

Not only will your door be constantly opening and closing on Halloween, but all those ghoulish costumed humans intending to look scary that come to your door may actually be frightening to your four-legged family member. Your dog or cat doesn't understand why so many creepy creatures are heading to their home full of energy and yelling out for candy!

Pets are instinctively protective of their home and can get freaked out when kids are disguised in costumes. And it's a prime time when dogs and cats can get out of their house with all the restless anxious energy that they feel around Halloween time.

It's enough to make dogs and cats go running - sometimes right out the door. Halloween is a prime time when Rover and Kitty can get out of their homes.

Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags can be a lifesaver, increasing the chances that he will be returned to you.

And because dogs are protective of their home, they can also get anxious and growl when they see kids are in costumes.

Because dogs and cats may do unpredictable things when they're scared, please keep them tucked away in a quiet and safe room on Halloween. Even if your furry friends are used to being outdoors, keep them indoors on Halloween night.

Calls to the veterinarian at Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12 percent during the week of Halloween.

Most of the calls involve pets accidently ingesting candy. Any candy is bad enough, but chocolate is one of the most toxic to pets. Dogs are especially attracted to the smell of chocolate, making it a significant threat.

Other candy treats that contain plastic sticks, like lollipops, can be harmful, even deadly, if swallowed by your furry friend. Cellophane and foil wrappers also are potential hazards that could get gulped down along with the Halloween candy.

Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, and a dog's keen sense of smell will lead him to even the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact your veterinarian right away if your pooch gets into the candy, especially if it contains chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol.

If you do decide to dress your pet in a costume this year make sure it isn't annoying or unsafe. Pet Halloween costumes can be cute and festive, but you'll want to be certain that they don't have small parts which pose a choking hazard or impair your pets breathing or hearing. And pets that do not like wearing a costume can become quite stressed in the effort to remove it. Also, be aware of elastic and other costume fasteners that can become caught on your pet.

Brightly lit Jack o' Lanterns are wonderful to look at and very tempting for your pet to notice too. It's the same with candles in the window - very dangerous to a kitten or puppy that's drawn to the flame. Not to mention how a knocked-over carved pumpkin with a lit candle inside could be a fire hazard!

Don't wait to have your pet treated in the case of an emergency. Locate a 24-hour veterinary clinic if your family vet is not available.

Do not hesitate to contact the 24-hour Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-888-426-4435 if you suspect that your furry friend has ingested something or might be injured.

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