James R. Speiser, DVM, DABVP, CCRT
October 11, 2017
In a few weeks, Trick-or-treaters will be knocking at your door. It's a great time of year and it can be enjoyable to let our furry friends in on the fun too. But between the costumes, candy and the holiday, it can be a little dangerous for your pet. Below are some tips to help maximize the fun, but make sure your dog or cat stay safe.
Most people know that chocolate is bad for your dog (especially dark chocolate), but sweeteners like Xylitol (commonly found in gum) can be even worse. So it's best to keep your pets out of the candy. If your pet does eat any of these items, it's best to take them straight to your veterinarian for help.
Candy wrappers are especially a concern for small dogs, but even bigger dogs can choke, or develop an intestinal obstruction from one or more wrappers.
Costumes are a big part of the seasonal fun of Halloween, and can be fun for your pet too, but some pets really dislike being dressed up. If your pet is anxious about their costume then it may be a better idea to take it off of them. If your pet is comfortable dressing up, make sure the costume is not too tight and that they can see and that nothing will slip and restrict their breathing. Also make sure the costume doesn't have small ornaments on it that they might chew off and swallow.
Pumpkins and Jack-o'-lanterns can be a hazard too. Many people like to place lit candles inside their carved pumpkins to give their creations a spooky glow. However, pets, and especially cats can be drawn to the flickering light either burning themselves, or overturning the pumpkin and creating a fire hazard. Consider an electric tea light, or other battery powered option instead to make sure your pets are safe.
Trick-or-treaters and costume parties are great fun and seeing the creative ideas people come up with to transform themselves is part of what makes Halloween so special. However, some pets become nervous around costumes, if your pet has a hard time with them, it's best to make sure they're in another room so they feel safe.
Lastly, doors are opening and closing a lot, so it's a lot easier for your pet to slip outside. Make sure they're wearing a collar with proper identification, or have them microchipped so that in the event that they do go outside, they'll be able to be identified and returned.