Halloween is a fun family holiday but it can also be a dangerous and stressful time for pets. They can ingest toxic food, candy wrappers or decorations and be traumatized by sudden noises or harmful pranks and ringing doorbells.
Candy, especially chocolate, can be especially harmful for dogs. Even small amounts of theobromine, the key ingredient in chocolate, can quickly induce vomiting, choking,diarrhea, damage to internal organs, and potentially lead to death. Wooden sticks from candy apples, if chewed or swallowed, can cause serious damage to internal organs. Gum and other chewy candy can cause pets to choke. Raisins and other candy ingredients (e.g. xylitol sweetener) can be lethal to your pet. If you want to give your pet a treat, make it an all-natural biscuit or all-meat treat – even a little bit of apple, carrots or other veggies are good options too – just no people candy.
Decorations can pose hazards too. Candles in jack-o- lanterns and electric lights can burn curious pets or start fires if they are knocked over. Faux spider webs pose serious risks too. Look over your pet’s costume. Rubber bands, string, ribbon, or small pieces of plastic can be swallowed. If your pet shows a lot of curiosity or nervous chewing than that might be an indication that your pet is anxious.
Be careful when it’s trick or treat time too. Pet’s may become protective or aggressive if they feel threatened by a child’s costume. What looks cute and funny to us can look very different to your pet. Also, be careful that they don’t escape out the door when children come to visit. If your pet doesn’t like the doorbell then putting him in a quiet room with the door shut can help keep him safe. You can make this a special time with good treats (e.g. a treat-filled Kong is great) and a bowl of water and a litter box for your cats. Other options include a natural solution like Rescue Remedy or even a Thundershirt to help keep him calm.
As a final note keep your pet safe outdoors on Halloween by always going out with them to the yard if you have a cat, especially black, please make sure they are kept indoors during the month of October, since they often fall victim to pranks that are not always meant to be harmless. With a few precautions, you and your pet can have a fun (and safe) Halloween season.
For more pet hazards visit the Pet Poison Helpline website.