Top Halloween Hazards for Pets

0 Comments Posted by tcahvet in Events, News, Photos on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011.

Halloween is a festive time for children, and a chaotic one for adults: there are the decorations, the candy, pumpkin carving, and crowds of trick-or-treaters waiting to be lavished with treats. With all this mayhem, it can also be a frightening and stressful time for your pets.

As a caring pet owner there are some precautions you can take to keep your pets safe as you enjoy this spooky time of year.

Top Halloween hazards for pets:

#1- Anxiety and Stress: Some pets enjoy the excitement of crowds and are eager to join in the fun. But many dogs — and certainly most cats — become frightened or even uncharacteristically aggressive in crowds. Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be very stressful. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea, vomiting and can potentially injure themselves due to the anxiety. Keep your pets in a quiet and safe place on Halloween night away from trick-or-treaters. You should also make sure that your pet is always wearing some kind of identification, just in case. A rabies tag, or a tag with your contact information and even micro-chipping your pet is an ideal way to ensure that in case your pet runs out as you hand out treats, they can be traced back to you if someone finds them.

#2- Decorations: Halloween decorations have evolved from basic carved pumpkins to elaborate and lavish outdoor displays. Sometimes, the materials used can be dangerously attractive for pets. Small, low-hanging decorations on trees and shrubbery can tempt some pets to take a nibble, resulting in intestinal blockages. Candles and Jack-o’-lanterns within a pet’s range are also a fire hazard. Make sure lighted candles are out of “tail range”. A swiping dog tail could easily knock a candle over. A cat sashaying by a lighted candle might get its tail burnt. Also, keep any decorations with electrical cords safely protected from curious pets.

#3- Pet costumes: Don’t leave your pet unsupervised while dressed up. Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and ingest it. This could also cause an intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed. Another hazard in pet costumes is tight elastics. These can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing swelling and pain in the area of the elastic and sometimes can become imbedded in the pet’s skin if not removed in time. Another potential danger with pet costumes is that if the pet happens to become frightened and run away, they can become entangled on trees, fences, etc. If your pet normally is not used to being in costume, is usually nervous around crowds and is not exactly a social butterfly, resist the urge to dress them up.

 #4- Chocolate: With chocolate bars and other chocolate-based treats in abundance, it’s easy to forget that Chocolate is toxic to pets. It contains a compound called theobromine.  Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, call your veterinarian. Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. In addition to chocolate, there are other trick-or-treat goodies that include nuts, raisins, chewing gum, mints, and anything containing xylitol, a commonly used artificial sweetener. Xylitol, often found in baked goods and candies, has been associated with liver failure and death in dogs. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can also cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency. If you keep a ‘goodies basket’ by the front door for trick-or-treaters, make sure your pet doesn’t run off with any ‘samples’ for itself.

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween this year. Trick-or-treat!

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