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Halloween and Pets

It’s that time of year again to post tips on keeping your pets safe at Halloween. In addition to last year’s post, here is additional information from Mindy Bough, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center:

No Sweets for Your Sweetie. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures.

Watch out for those wrappers. Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.

Jersey poses in a Halloween Costume made by Karen Friesecke of DoggieStylish.

Careful with costumes! If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. Also check the costume for choking hazards. A smart alternative to dressing your pet from head-to-paw? A simple, festive Halloween bandana.

I like this costume made by Karen Friesecke of Doggie Stylish. Karen is very crafty, and her blog often has DIY how-tos.

Decorations can be dangerous. Re-think putting 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.

Trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets. During trick-or-treating hours it is best to keep pets in a room away from your front door. Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags and/or is micro-chipped.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies).

Safe and Tasty Treats for Dogs, Cats, and Horses
If you want to give your dog, cat, or horse a special treat, see the recipes here. And if you own a black cat or have a friend with a black cat, read about Black Cat Syndrome.

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