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Halloween safety for pets

Experts predict that we will spend more than $10 billion on Halloween this year, including $350 million for costumes or our pets! 20% of pet owners will enlist Fido and Fluffy in their Halloween celebrations. Joining us today to talk about the importance of pet safety on Halloween was Tom Dock of Noah’s Animal Hospital. Here’s more from him:

While many costumes might look cute (imagine your ShihTzu as an Ewok), not all pets appreciate the outfits, especially if the costume is constricting or needs something around their head.  If your pet doesn’t like the costume, let him/her enjoy Halloween frolicking in their “birthday suit.”

Be sure to only use pet-safe non-toxic face paints on your pets and remove the paint as soon as the holiday celebration is over.

Many pets get confused by the costumes and masks of their “people.” Don’t be surprised if your pet barks or even growls at you when you get dressed to head out. Add in a whole horde of unknown ghouls and goblins making a racket at your front door and you can easily see how mild mannered pups can turn into Cujo!

Consider keeping your dog in an interior room, away from the front door to avoid any ghastly surprises. Our sneaky feline friends might also try to escape the haunted sights and sounds, so keep them confined during Trick or Treat time as well.

Overly excited pups might cause a cauldron of trouble with Halloween decorations. Exuberant tail wagging could knock over pumpkins with candles, leading to singed hair at best or a house fire at worst.  Other decorations, like corn cobs, could be dangerous if swallowed.

As technology continues to bring newer, scarier, and more complicated decorations to this holiday, remember that batteries can be a hazard if swallowed by a curious pet.

By far, the biggest danger to our pets during this holiday comes from the goodie bags filled with scrumptious treats from around the neighborhood. When your witches, superheroes, and princesses return home with the haul, make sure that the candy is kept out of the pet’s reach.  

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is toxic to pets. While a few M&Ms aren’t likely to cause a problem for your Labrador, it doesn’t take many Milky Way bars or Kit Kats to cause on issue for smaller pets.

Chocolate toxicity signs commonly include vomiting and diarrhea, but could progress to restlessness, muscle tremors, a racing heart rate and possibly seizures.   In severe cases, pets who don’t receive treatment could die.

Beyond the horrors of eating chocolate, your pet could also experience problems with artificially sweetened candies if they contain Xylitol. Foil wrappers and the sticks from lollipops are also potentially dangerous if swallowed.  Finally, as many pet owners can attest, some dogs will continue to gorge on the candy beyond all expectations. Per Pet Poison Helpline, high levels of high-fat, sugary candies in the body can predispose a pet to life-threatening pancreatitis.

Keep these items top of mind during your Halloween celebration and you can avoid going batty and a trip to the animal ER!

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