When Halloween comes, adults and kids alike enjoy the chance to dress up and eat more candy than usual. But the American Animal Hospital Association recommends being mindful of pets’ FEAR—food, environment, attire, and recovery—to keep pets safe and happy.
Many people know that chocolate is toxic for pets. As little as one ounce of baking chocolate or eight ounces of milk chocolate can kill a 10-pound dog. Actually, pets shouldn’t have any candy. Candy can cause such problems as vomiting, restlessness, and heart issues. Xylitol, commonly found in sugar-free candies and gum, is also deadly to pets. Raisins and grapes—snacks that are considered healthy for people—can cause kidney damage and failure in pets.
So make sure the treats you hand out to your pets are veterinarian-approved or, even better, give your pets love and attention instead of extra snacks. If your pet gets into the candy, seek emergency medical treatment.
There will likely be increased doorbell ringing and people in the neighborhood. If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, consider putting your pet in a kennel or in a room away from the front door. All the noise and activity stresses some pets. Plus, the coming and going could create an opportunity for your pet to slip outside. Just in case of an escape, make sure your pet has a proper collar, tag, and microchip to ensure a quick return to you. In the interest of keeping your outdoor pet calm and safe from inhumane pranks and people, it is best to keep your outside pets inside as well.
You should also be cautious about decorations and paraphernalia in the pet’s environment, especially any with electrical cords. Be sure lit candles and jack-o-lanterns cannot be knocked over by your pets. Glow-in-the-dark items like glow sticks can be toxic if ingested, so contact your veterinarian immediately if that happens.
While pet costumes are cute and a fun way to involve the whole family in Halloween, if you are going to dress up your pet, be sure that the costume doesn’t interfere with your pet’s vision, breathing, or movement. Costumes with parts that could be chewed off and swallowed present a hazard, as do those with belts, strings, and other potential entanglements. A good rule of thumb is to keep it simple and never leave a costumed pet unsupervised.
Also, watch your pet and make sure that he or she enjoys the costume. Some pets get very nervous when dressed up. Is it really any fun if your furry friend isn’t happy too?
If your pet is acting unusual, gets injured, sick, or lost during Halloween, do not put off taking action. In the Champaign-Urbana area, the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital has emergency service for all animals, any time, day or night. Call us at (217) 333-5300.
Please contact your local veterinarian if you have any other questions.