Haunted houses. Trick-Or-Treaters. Jack-O-Lanterns. We usually think of all the fun to be had on Halloween, but many pet owners aren’t aware that it’s actually one of the more dangerous nights of the year for dogs and cats. There are unique risks that Halloween poses that causes this. Fortunately, there are fairly simple ways that these risks can be mitigated. That’s exactly why we wrote this article! In the next five minutes, you’ll learn what the risks are, and how to keep your pet safe. That way, you can relax and enjoy the holiday!
Candy & Chocolate
You probably don’t need to be told that candy is bad for dogs and cats. However, it’s necessary to take extra precautions on Halloween because the sweets are usually plentiful and are often all around the house. When a pet ingests candy, it can cause them severe health problems, and can even lead to death. In the table above, you can see the point at which different kinds of chocolate become dangerous for a pet to ingest. As you can see, the most dangerous kinds of chocolate are baking and dark.
Many types of candy contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. Xylitol is especially dangerous for dogs, and can cause sudden and severe drops in blood sugar and corresponding seizures.
In order to prevent any potentially dangerous situations, it’s important to keep any candy out of reach from your dog or cat at all times. We recommend storing candy in cabinets or locked pantries so that your pet has no chance to access it. Even the candy wrappers contain hidden dangers – the wrapper can obstruct your pet’s digestive tract, which is an emergency situation.
Symptoms of Chocolate Poisoning:
- Rapid Breathing
- Rapid Heartrate
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, please call us immediately, as it can be an emergency situation. If we are closed, you can reach the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.
Halloween is one of the most common nights of the year for pets to run away. There are a few reasons for this. Primarily, trick-or-treaters and party go-ers cause doors to be frequently open. This, combined with strangers entering their home territory can cause pets to want to dart out the door to escape an uncomfortable situation. (Side note: Even dogs that are usually friendly can growl at trick-or-treaters, so make sure your dog doesn’t have any access to the door) You should take special precautions to make sure your dog or cat can’t escape. We recommend setting up a secure or gated room where your pet can feel comfortable. At no time should they have access to an open door.
Important note: If your pet is not yet microchipped, please call us now to schedule an appointment. Runaway dogs and cats who are microchipped are returned home safely at a significantly higher rate than those who aren’t. Microchipping is safe, painless, fast, and inexpensive.
Disturbingly, every year, animal cruelty cases spike around Halloween. Some people will injure, tease, steal, or even kill pets around the Holiday, with incidences spiking on Halloween night. The pets at highest risk are black cats. For this reason, many animal shelters refuse to adopt out any of their black cats during the month of October.
We urge you to keep your pet indoors on Halloween. And be vigilant on the days around Halloween as well, as there is still heightened risk of animal cruelty.
They can be adorable and hilarious, but sometimes costumes can cause pets distress or even harm. If you are going to use a costume for your dog or cat on Halloween, we recommend having them try it on at an earlier date. Carefully observe for any signs of stress or discomfort. If they do show signs of this, then it’s best to forego the costume.
It is incredibly important to make sure that your pet’s breathing or movement aren’t inhibited by the costume, and that they can fully open and close their mouths. Also, stay away from costumes with dangling parts, as these can become choking hazards.
Curious or unsuspecting pets will often knock over Jack-O-Lanterns, which is a fire hazard. Especially susceptible to burns are kittens, as they feel compelled to investigate the glowing object. Even pumpkin seeds can be harmful, as they can cause digestive obstructions in smaller pets. Make sure that your pet is never allowed to be around a Jack-O-Lantern when unsupervised.
Also, be wary of any decorations that dangle – such as wires and hung ornaments. When a pet becomes curious about these, they can ensnare or even strangle them. Make sure they are safely out of reach of your dog or cat at all times.
Now that you have learned about the scary, you can enjoy the spooky! On behalf of our team at Belmont Animal Hospital, we wish you and your pet the very happiest of Halloweens!