Once per year door bells ring and little goblins, witches and spider men wander the night in pursuit of delicious sweets. And though for most humans this is one of the favorite holidays, for pets it can be very confusing and even potentially dangerous.
The most important thing is to KNOW YOUR PET.
If your pet is one who will empty out a bucket of candy, knock over a lit pumpkin, bark wildly at a doorbell ring, or snap at a goblin, best to lock up the pet before the festivities begin. The SPCA reports that the day after Halloween is the busiest day for lost dogs and cats to arrive at the shelters. Just think how strange it must be for a pet to hear the doorbell ringing constantly and see very strange human like bodies shouting ‘TRICK OR TREAT’.
SO WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST DANGERS FOR OWNERS TO BE AWARE OF?
CHOCOLATE; Probably the number one danger for dogs is chocolate. A VERY popular candy but VERY dangerous for pets. Because dark chocolate has become more popular over the past ten years and it contains twice as much chocolate as milk chocolate. What this means is a small amount can cause problems. Older and compromised dogs will have a much more severe reaction so there is not really a safe amount of chocolate. Call your vet or the PET POISEN HELPLINE 1-800-213-6680.
DEMO: AMOUNT OF MILK CHOCOLATE BARS THAT IS TOXIC TO FULTON
CANDY IN GENERAL: The high sugar and fat content of many candies can cause vomiting and diarrhea, not fun to clean up, but also can cause more serious problems like pancreatitis. Candy wrappers can get stuck in the stomach and may require surgery to remove.
SUGAR SUBSTITUTES: These products are showing up in more and more candies and snacks. Although sugarless candy and treats may be better for some people, they are NOT better for pets. Xylitol is a very common sugar substitute in candy, gum and baked goods like cookies and cupcakes. IN pets Xylitol acts like real sugar causing natural insulin to be released and resulting in a dangerously low blood sugar. The pet instead of getting a sugar high, will be weak and wobbly and can have seizures and even die.
You are NOT doing your pet a favor by giving him a low calorie sugar free snack.
DEMO: LOW CALORIE SUGARLESS CUPCAKES
RAISINS (AND GRAPES OF COURSE). More parents are choosing healthy snakes like trail mix and raisins for trick or treats. Raisins can cause severe acute Kidney failure. Symptoms often do not occur until after a significant amount of Kidney damage is done. If you suspect you dog has eaten any raisins bring him to a vet to induce vomiting.
DEMO: BOX OF RAISINS THAT WOULD BE TOXIC TO FULTON
CANDLES: The glow of candles around the house and in the pumpkin is really beautiful and mood setting. However both cats and dogs can be burned by them or knock them over. Be sure to supervise anywhere you have fire to protect pets and people from injuries.
GLOW STICKS; This may be a safer way to light up the night but they are soft and pliable and pets, especially cats, love to chew on them. They contain Phenol which is very unlikely to result in poisoning BUT it can cause very severe burns to the mouth. The only symptoms may be a loss of appetite, drooling and a very painful mouth. So when the glow is gone throw them out.
COSTUMES: know your pet, practice with the costume before putting it on the pet and leaving the pet unobserved. There are some dogs and most cats that will have NOTHING to do with wearing a costume. They will chew and struggle with it and possibly get hurt in the struggle. Some costumes have beads and spangles on them that contain lead or zinc. These metals are toxic to people and pets.
There are no dyes that are proven safe to color a pet’s fur with. Dogs and cats lick their fur and ingestion of these products will at the least upset their stomachs. There are no long term studies on the use of pet dyes. If you chose to dye your pet get it done professionally or just don’t do it.
CHAOS: The fun of Halloween, doorbell ringing, loud knocking, crazy costumes, goblins on the streets, all fun for people but can be frightening for pets. KNOW YOUR PET. If your pet is the nervous kind, confine him. If you want your pet to participate in Halloween PRACTICE before Halloween. More pets go missing on Halloween night than almost any other night of the year. Shelters fill with frightened lost pets.
DEMO: GHOST AND FULTON’S CONCERN
BLACK CATS: Unfortunately there are irrational people who will try to harm cats around this fun holiday, especially black and orange cats. Keep them indoors a few days before Halloween and a few days after.
Halloween is a fun holiday. Have fun and enjoy the many strange goblins at your door. But remember it will be less fun if your pet gets lost or hurt during this event.
REMEMBER THE FIVE C’s of pet Halloween.