Halloween can be a fun-filled holiday for children and adults, but scary costumes, decorations and toxic treats can be frightening and dangerous for household pets.
To help you avoid the real-life nightmare of a vet visit during the witching hour, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a list of the top five threats to pets on Halloween.
1. Trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets. During trick-or-treating hours, it is best to keep pets in a room away from all the excitement at the front door. A constantly ringing doorbell and a flurry of strangers in unfamiliar costumes can be frightening for pets.
2. Be careful with costumes. If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit their movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark, eat, drink or go to the bathroom. Also check the costume for choking hazards.
3. No sweets! Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets, especially candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol, which can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause a sudden drop in your dog’s blood sugar, which may lead to lack of coordination, seizures and depression. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can also be potentially poisonous to animals. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities and even seizures.
4. Beware of dangerous decorations. Re-think putting burning candles in Jack-o’-lanterns. Pets can easily knock these over and start a fire, and curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock. Pumpkins themselves are relatively non-toxic, but could cause upset stomachs if pets nibble on them.
5. Watch out for wrappers. Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and vomiting.
If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435 (a fee applies) or aspca.org/apcc.
Don’t let Fido be left out in the cold this Halloween — these 19 cute, canine costumes will most certainly have him doing tricks for treats!
All dressed up and no where to go? Join us on Wednesday, October 29th at the lovely and dog friendly Woodmark Hotel for the third annual Howl-at-the-Moon Muttmixer, from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a costume contest with prizes and of course, tricks for treats! Click here for more information.