Halloween Safety Tips for Pets
The spookiest night of the year for pets is upon us and that means we need to take a few extra precautions for our four-legged family members. From tricks and treats to deadly decorations and dangerous howl-o-ween noises, there are plenty of potential problems that we need to closely monitor.
Cats Stay Indoors
First and foremost, you pets (especially your cats) should stay indoors this night (and every night, but we can talk about that later). Just make it a focused priority to keep your pets in a controlled environment during the nights of October 30-November 1.
Teach Pets the Difference between Trick or Treat!
It shouldn’t have to be said that you must keep dogs and cats away from candy, but so many animals wind up in the veterinarians office, that we have to remind people each year.
This means, don’t let your dogs pick things up out of the yard (unscrupulous people will often throw food over fences to lure unsuspecting animals into a death from poison) and you should never let your pet pick things up off the sidewalk during walks.
Specific dangers include:
Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute.
Chemically, it is a “sugar alcohol”, and in nature it is found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and even some hardwood trees and fruits. In human land, it’s often found in gum, candy, and other products that are popular during the holidays.
Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.
While no amount of chocolate is good for your dog to consume, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the riskiest; milk and white chocolate pose a less serious risk.
Chocolate contains Theobromine, which can cause serious illness and even death in dogs. While theobromine is also toxic to cats, they don’t often consume it (perhaps because cats lack the ability to taste “sweetness”).
Dogs, on the other paw, will eat just about anything if given the opportunity.
Keep Help Nearby
Pet Poison Helpline is the most cost-effective animal poison control center in North America at only $39 per call, including unlimited follow-up consultations. The helpline also has an iPhone app that includes an extensive database of plants, food, drugs and chemicals that are poisonous to pets.