Fall weather (or maybe winter?) is finally here. With it comes a holiday many kids, young and old, enjoy-Halloween. Kids and even adults enjoy dressing in costumes, decorating to be the scariest house on the block, visiting haunted houses, and trick-or-treating for candy. Don’t forget your pets during this time! With Halloween comes a few areas for caution for your furry friends.
Candy: Many people participate in annual trick-or-treat, either passing out candy or collecting candy. Candy can contain ingredients which is toxic to pets. Chocolate is a big concern, followed by xylitol, an artificial sweetener in many gums and hard candies.
Be sure to keep all candy and gum out of your pet’s reach, even if it means sealing it in a bowl and storing it in a high cabinet or in a locked pantry. Watch children with candy, as candy is often dropped or snatched from children’s fingers by quick, sneaky pets. Kids may also try to hide candy in their room, which pets will no doubt find and snack on.
If you suspect your pet may have eaten any candy, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Costumes: Kids enjoy dressing in costumes. Some people also dress their pets in costumes. Both are cute! Just be sure to monitor your pet in case he decides to chew at the costume he’s wearing. Also watch for small pieces and parts to your kids’ costumes that can easily be ingested by pets.
Decorations: Every season and holiday brings with it a change in decorations. As always, watch your pets around any decorative items. Decorations may be ingested by pets and get stuck in the stomach or intestines, requiring surgical removal.
Glow Sticks: These are common around Halloween, especially when kids are trick-or-treating at dusk. Be sure to keep these out of reach of pets. Their sharp teeth can easily puncture the plastic. Most are labeled non-toxic, but still have a really nasty taste. If your pet breaks a glow stick, offer a treat or food to help with the taste. Take your pet into a dark room to see if there is anything on their fur. Wipe off any spots with a damp cloth. If you pet has actually ingested a glow stick, call your veterinarian or pet poison control.
Anxiety: The costumes, decorations, and steady stream of the ringing doorbell from trick-or-treaters can cause anxiety for many pets. It’s recommended that pets be kept in a separate room away from the commotion. Offer a special toy (kongs with peanut butter or kong stuffing are great for dogs) or treat to your pet. Turn on the TV or radio to a low volume for your pets. If you have an especially anxious pet, consider a light sedative from your veterinarian.
Also, use caution if you plan to take your dog trick-or-treating with you. He may be used to your family in costumes, but passing many people and children on crowded sidewalks may be a bit too much for some dogs. If you pet becomes nervous or anxious, take him home.
Everybody have a safe and happy howl-o-ween!
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