Candy is dandy but not for doggies: Tips for a pet-safe Halloween


From black cats to hounds from hell, animals abound at Halloween. Make sure your patients have a safe and happy Halloween by passing these Halloween pet-safety tips along to their owners

Hide the treats

Keep the candy away from pets. A lot of people already know that chocolate is bad for dogs and cats, but fewer people are aware of the dangers of xylitol. This common sugar substitute is found in all kinds of sugarless Halloween treats and it’s highly toxic to dogs. And while there’s no published data that says it’s harmful to cats, there have been anecdotal reports of xylitol sensitivity in both cats and ferrets.

Be careful with costumes

If they plan on dressing up their pets for Halloween, they should make sure the costume is comfortable, and has no dangling pieces the pet can chew off. The costume shouldn’t interfere with the pet’s movement, sight, hearing, or breathing. Wearing a costume can be very stressful to some pets. The ASPCA recommends that people don’t put their dogs or cats in a costume unless they know the pet likes it. They should give the pet a chance to try on the costume before the big night to make sure the pet is comfortable.

Keep pets away from the door

With so many people coming and going on the doorstep, there’s a better than average opportunity for pets to scoot outside unseen. Unless the pet is extremely socialized and well-behaved, owners should consider keeping them in a separate room during peak trick-or-treating time. And they should make sure the pet is wearing a collar with ID tags or is microchipped so they can easily be identified and/or located if they do manage to slip away during the sugar-fueled excitement.

Put pumpkins out of reach

Jack-o-lanterns are fun, but knocking them over, not so much. A cat or dog can easily tip over a lit pumpkin and start a fire, or risk burning themselves. Likewise, owners should keep Halloween glow sticks and other glow-in-the-dark decorations away from their pets. Although the liquid that makes them glow probably isn’t toxic, it tastes terrible and can make pets salivate excessively and act oddly.

Happy Halloween. Say, do you hear someone at the door?

Photo credit © darnedeeso

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