For many, Halloween is a favorite annual holiday. There are many things to like—friends, fun, costumes, and, of course, candy. But the dangers of Halloween extend past zombies and haunted houses to real dangers for our pets. Here are our top three dangers you may not expect to find lurking in dark corners this Halloween.
Danger #1: Candy can be too sweet for pets
We can’t talk about Halloween safety without talking about candy. Vetting every piece of candy that makes its way into the house may be near impossible, but some safety measures must be implemented. First, candy should always be kept out of reach of pets at all times. However, as we all know, children and pets sometimes conspire against rules put in place for their best interest. Therefore, to protect against a potentially toxic encounter, inspect candy when it first comes into the house and remove the following pet-unfriendly treats to prevent your furry family member’s access and keep her safe.
- Gum and sugar-free candy — The sugar substitute xylitol, contained in many Halloween handouts such as gum and gummy candy, is extremely dangerous for our pets and can cause seizures from low blood sugar and liver failure. Keep any items that contain xylitol far out of the reach of pets, and caution children to avoid sharing these treats with the four-legged family members.
- Raisins — The grandmother who lives down the street may think she’s doing children a favor by handing out boxes of raisins instead of chocolate, but she could do great harm to a pet. The ingestion of a single raisin or grape can cause kidney failure in pets, so take the box of raisins out of the treat bag and put it in a safe place.
- Chocolate — Chocolate is toxic to pets, and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. If your furry friend gets into the Halloween candy stash, call us right away.
- Candy wrappers — An excited dog won’t unwrap his treasure before eating it. Plastic and foil wrappers can cause an obstruction in his stomach and intestines that may require surgical removal.
Danger #2: Costumes can come undone
Coming up with themed costumes for kids and adults, and sometimes pets, highlights this whimsical holiday. However, costumes can pose unanticipated dangers for pets.
- Pins — Stick pins, safety pins, and buttons are vital parts of homemade costumes, but they can easily be lost in the mess of fabric and sewing. And, dogs may find no issue with tasting these pokey parcels, despite their danger. Sharp pins and buttons can become stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, and straight pins can migrate through the stomach or intestine walls into other organs, or release bacteria that can wreak havoc in the abdomen.
- Stranger danger — Dressing up in costumes with masks and big hats is great Halloween fun for humans, but what does your furry family member think? You may smell the same, but your body may look wider or taller and more threatening. A mask or big hat may change your appearance so much that your pet becomes anxious and stressed. In worst-case scenarios, a pet may bite out of fear and uncertainty, so calmly reassure an uncertain pet and keep your biggest show for events outside your home.
Danger #3: Trick-or-treaters can traumatize pets
Halloween is a banner night for doorbell manufacturers because more visitors may come to your door than come the rest of the year. But beware—the constant opening of the front door allows a cunning canine ample opportunity to excuse himself from the party. Ensure your pets are kept safely behind closed doors during peak candy-hunting hours. They may not like missing the fun, but they definitely wouldn’t like being lost.
The Stone Ridge veterinary team wants the best for your pet day in and day out. Holidays can be risky for our pets, and Halloween is no exception. If you suspect that your furry friend has eaten something he shouldn’t, or Fido needs help to allay his fears, give our hospital a call.