Halloween is a fun time to dress up and indulge in candies, cookies and games.
With the spooky season upon us, let’s brush up on some safety tips for including your pet in the Halloween fun:
1. Do NOT feed your pet any human treats – this includes, but is not limited to, candies and cookies meant for human consumption. Some ingredients found in these delicious treats are poisonous for our pets. For example:
- Chocolate can be extremely toxic to your pet causing excessive drooling, pupil dilation, irregular, rapid heartbeat, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizure, and/or coma.
- Artificial sweeteners, such as Xylotyl, can be found in many different Halloween candy. Consumption of these sweeteners can cause a sudden drop of glucose and subsequent loss of coordination and/or seizures.
- Grapes and Raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possibly resulting in death.
- Macadamia nuts can cause your pet to experience severe illness. Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, drunken gait, joint/ muscle pain and joint swelling
Ensure that the kids understand the dangers of sharing their candy loot with their beloved pet! If you would like, offer your pet an appropriate pet-friendly treat, while you are enjoying the treasures of trick-or-treating. Ask your vet for suggestions as to suitable treats for your pet.
2. Halloween plants such as pumpkin and corn need to be kept out of reach of curious and mischievous pets. While, these plants are non-toxic, they can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities or intestinal blockage if large pieces are swallowed.
3. It is imperative that candy wrappers be disposed of in a safe manner. Make sure wrappers and chip bags are thrown into the garbage and that your pet is unable to gain access to the garbage. Wrappers and bags can be a choking hazard as well as cause an intestinal obstruction if ingested.
4. If you are burning candles to create a creepy atmosphere, make sure they are located in an area where they cannot be knocked over by your pet, resulting in burns and/or fire. Flashing lights or LEDs are very good alternatives for spooking up your house. Don’t forget to keep wires and electrical light cords out of reach. If chewed, your pet could cut themselves on shards of glass or plastic, and/or receive a nasty, possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
5. Costumes and dress-up can be lots of fun; however, certain precautions need to be taken to ensure safety is always a priority. Some pets really enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit and wearing a costume. Others may find the experience scary, uncomfortable and overall unpleasant. Your veterinarian recommends trying on costume pieces slowly, before Halloween, to see if your pet responds well to the dressing up. If dressing up causes distress and/or allergic reaction, stop putting costumes on your pet. You may opt to try a Halloween bandana, depending on your pet’s preference.
6. If you pet enjoys wearing the costume, ensure the costume you select fits your pet, allowing them to breathe comfortably, see and hear clearly, and walk safely, without tripping. Remove any small pieces that could be swallowed. Never apply make up or glitter to your pet because it could be licked off and make them sick and/or cause a skin reaction.
7. Walk your dog before trick-or-treating begins. Many dogs are afraid of people in costumes.
8. Keep your pet indoors while kids are out trick-or-treating. The constant flux of people to the door may frighten or agitate them. Better to keep your pets in a secure area, where they can relax without fear of them getting loose or harmed. It is advisable to ensure your pet is wearing a secure collar with ID tag, in the event your pet gets loose. This will increase the chances of being reunited with your pet in the event they get lost. Consider microchipping your pet by your Richmond Hill veterinarian, another great method of increasing your cases of being reunited with your lost pet!
9. Following Halloween, walk your dogs carefully, keeping an eye out for any left over items from the festivities. Monitor them to ensure nothing inappropriate is swallowed. If your pet exhibits any symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and/or abnormal behaviour, contact your veterinarian or emergency hospital.