Written by: Pet Health

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

(or How Not to Spend Halloween Night in an Emergency Clinic)

Halloween is approaching, and many are already planning for what is considered one of the most popular holidays of the year. Halloween, however, is also one of the holidays where the most lost pets and dog bites are reported. It is also one of the busier nights at animal emergency clinics. To avoid spending your Halloween night at a hospital with your beloved pets, here are five tips to follow:

Avoid dangerous pet costumes.

Only dress up your pet if he/she tolerates and enjoys it. Avoid any costume that limits their field of vision or that has loose strings, feathers or bells. Avoid flammable materials and outfits that are tight or uncomfortable. If your dog is a chewer or eats foreign objects (listen to this one, Labrador owners), then skip the costume. If you make the costume yourself, be sure that it is a safe design and allows for proper movement.

Choose decorations that are safe.

Avoid using real candles for decoration to prevent burned whiskers, corneas and other body parts. Candles are often placed on the ground inside interesting containers, such as pumpkins, that are too attractive and invite dogs and cats to smell and investigate, resulting in major burns.

Skip the fake spiderwebs if there are cats in the household. Cats are fond of playing with strings, and it is easy for them to swallow these plastic strings, leading to intestinal blockage and, likely, emergency surgery.

Be cautious opening doors repeatedly.

Frequent knocking at the door by kids looking for candy can be an invitation for fast dogs and cats to escape and get lost or, worse, get hit by a car.

Keep candy out of your pet’s reach.

Unintentional poisoning from eating candy that contains ingredients that are toxic to pets and gastrointestinal problems due to the ingestion of excess candy are perhaps the most common emergencies seen on Halloween night. If your pet is known for stealing snacks from tables and counters, avoid chocolates (especially the darker type), raisins and any candy with the sweetener xylitol. The theobromine in chocolate will lead to tachycardia, incoordination, vomiting, diarrhea and other serious symptoms that require treatment. The low-calorie sweetener xylitol can lead to acute liver failure. Ingestion of raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. Let’s not forget that most dogs will also eat the wrappers and even the lollipop sticks. These foreign, nondigestible materials commonly cause blockage of the intestines and stomach, requiring emergency surgery.

Keep your anxious pet in a quiet room with the door closed.

Nervous pets are more prone to anxiety attacks from loud, unfamiliar noises; frequent door knocking; and scary costumes. Older dogs and cats with cardiac disease are especially sensitive to these kinds of stimuli. Keeping your nervous pet away from these dangers will not only protect them from acute medical conditions such as heart attacks, but will also protect people, especially children, from unexpected bites caused by fear.

When planning for a fun Halloween night, keep your pet’s safety in mind. A worry-free celebration is always more enjoyable, and your pet will appreciate a safe, cozy room with his/her favorite snack to munch on during this holiday.

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Tags: , Last modified: October 15, 2021