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Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:14 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Halloween Safety, Pet Safety, Halloween

* Results not typical. Most pets dislike dressing up!

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IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhoto / Lobster Envy / author: rocketegg

It’s almost that time of year again – candies, costumes and chaos! Halloween can be fun for the entire family, including the pets, if you take a few safety precautions.

Safety First...

If possible, provide your pet with a quiet, safe place away from the front door during trick or treating. Dogs and cats can become unnerved by the constant stream of strangely dressed strangers to your home.

Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID tag in the event they attempt the great escape.

Keep candy bowls out of reach of pets to avoid accidental ingestion of chocolate which is toxic to both dogs and cats. Candies containing artificial sweetener like Xylitol, can also be poisonous to dogs.

Lollipop sticks and candy wrappers, if swallowed, can also pose a hazard to your pet.

Beware of jack-o-lanterns that contain candles – a wagging tail can easily knock them over posing a fire hazard. Curious kittens are especially at the risk of burning their nose or paws by the flame. Glowsticks and flashlights are safer choices.

Wires and cords from electrical lights and other Halloween decorations should be kept out of reach from your pets. If chewed, your pet could suffer damage to his mouth, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially dangerous substance, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Pet Costumes

Dressing up your pet can be fun, but if your h/she isn’t receptive to the idea, it’s probably not a good idea. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume properly fits and does not constrict the animal’s movement, hearing or ability to bark/meow.

Make sure you can fit two fingers in between the costume and your pet’s neck.

Masks are never a good idea for pets. They can cut off peripheral vision, making your pet nervous about its surroundings. Even the most well behaved pets can become distressed when they can’t see.

Add reflective tape to your pet’s costume, so if it runs outside, he can easily be spotted.

Halloween is definitely not the night you want to end up in the emergency room but it can happen because it is an unusual night and kids might just test the limits. Read our article on the Hidden Dangers of Halloween.

Several of our InjuryBoard members also have helpful Halloween Safety advice for children and parents. #


1 Comment

Posted by Pet Poison Helpline
Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:57 AM EST

Thanks for spreading the word on pet safety! Here's some more pet-friendly information from Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control located in Minneapolis, MN!

Pet Poison Helpline Offers Halloween Safety Tips for Pets
Advice on "treats" that pets should avoid and other Halloween hazards

Holidays can bring unique foods and materials into the house that pose special threats to animals. Halloween, with its costumes and candy, can be a dangerous and stressful time for a pet.

The following tips showcase what pet owners should watch out for around Halloween.

Tricks, not treats! Some human treats can be deadly for pets
Chocolate: Make sure your kids know to hide their Halloween stash from food-seeking dogs. Ninety-five percent of Pet Poison Helpline’s chocolate calls involve dogs getting into chocolate candy. Keep in mind, the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your pet. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem.

Other candy: Remember when you felt ill after gorging on too much candy? The same thing can happen to pets. Large ingestions of high-fat, high-sugar foods may lead to a condition called pancreatitis — a painful and potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Signs of pancreatitis typically show up two to four days after ingesting a large high-fat meal. Monitor your pet for a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and other odd behavior.

Raisins/grapes: While small boxes of raisins are popular and healthy treats for people, keep them away from dogs. Even small numbers of raisins or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs (and possibly cats). Never offer grapes or raisins as snacks for your pets. Choose carrots, peas, green beans or apples instead.

Candy wrappers: Not only is candy toxic to pets, but so are the wrappers. Few animals will bother to unwrap Halloween treats before eating them. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers may cause a bowel obstruction when ingested in large quantities.

Halloween hazards
Glow sticks/jewelry: Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these colorful toys. Though not highly poisonous, the glowing contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth as well as profuse drooling, nausea and vomiting.

Costumes: While dressing up our pets can be entertaining, keep in mind that your pet may not enjoy it. Make sure the costume does not impair their vision or movement. Also, beware of costumes containing metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces. If ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Never dye or apply coloring to your pets’ fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic, many are not meant to be ingested and can potentially cause harm.

Additionally, pets may be afraid of people dressed in costumes and may not even recognize those they typically know. Fear can cause animals to act aggressively or in an unpredictable manner. If your pet seems nervous or afraid, make sure to have a safe area for them to hide or take a "time out."

Candles: Wagging tails and curious noses do not mix with candles. Keep candles well out of reach of four-legged friends and, when possible, use safe, electric lights in jack-o-lanterns.

The best thing any pet owner can do is to be educated about the common foods and items that are potentially toxic to pets. Make sure to avoid accidentally feeding your pets human foods that may be dangerous for them and keep poisonous products out of your pet’s reach. When in doubt or if you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.

Comments for this article are closed.

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