By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
Halloween is my son’s favorite holiday. However, it’s not the best holiday for household pets. Following are tips to make sure your pets stay safe on this haunted holiday.
No Sweets for Your 4-Legged 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.
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.
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.
Out of sight
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 cat or dog a healthy and special treat, see the recipes here.