Deerfield Blog

HALLOWEEN SAFETY FOR OUR PETS

The fall colors are at there peak today and most of us are looking forward to the  Halloween festivities this weekend, but our pets can truly be “spooked” by all of the noises and costumes.   We hope you have a wonderful time this weekend,  but remember Halloween is a holiday with many potential dangers for our dogs and cats.

First let’s consider the ghost and goblin visits on Halloween eve. The excitement of the day may be too much for even the best-behaved dog.   Constant visitors to the door as well as the spooky sights and sounds may cause some pets to become fearful.  Costumes on people can be scary to pets.   Masks, large hats, and other costume accessories can confuse pets and may even trigger territorial instincts.   It is not unusual for pets to act protective or be fearful of people in costumes, even if they normally are very social with that person.  Your pet could run away and become injured in a variety of ways.  Consider allowing your dog or cat to spend the evening in his own special place inside with special treats, safe and secure from the goblins.  Even if you have a fenced yard, Halloween is definitely not a good night for your dog to be outside without supervision and restraint.  If you can’t keep your cat indoors, considering a boarding facility or your family veterinarian.   Remember, you are responsible for controlling your pet and insuring that he does not bite any of the neighborhood ghosts.

Judging by the pet pictures we get this time of year, many of our clients enjoy dressing their four-legged friends up for the holiday.  Dressing up is fun for everyone, but may not be very fun for our pets.  If your pet tolerates a costume, there are some things to keep in mind.  Your pet must be comfortable at all times.  Avoid any costumes that use rubber bands or anything that might constrict circulation or breathing.  Likewise, avoid costumes with toxic paints or dyes.   Your pet’s costume should be inedible.  If your pet appears uncomfortable in any way, allow him to dress up in his “birthday suit”.

The two biggest concerns for pets during the holiday are injuries and poisonings.  Some Halloween decorations can be unsafe.   Fake cobwebs or anything resembling a string can be tempting to cats, leading to a foreign body obstruction.   Candles inside of pumpkins are easily knocked over, burning your pet or even starting a fire.  Although the threat is probably minimal, many people are concerned about black cats during this time of year.   It might be wise to keep all cats indoors during this holiday.

Keep your pet away from the Halloween candy.   Chocolate can be toxic to pets and even small amounts can cause heart problems and vomiting.  Lollipop sticks and foil wrappers can become lodged in your pet’s digestive tract, causing painful obstructions.  Low carbohydrate, sugar free, diabetic-friendly candy or gum that is sweetened with Xylitol can cause low blood sugar in dogs and has been implicated in liver failure as well.