By Gary Richter, M.S., D.V.M., C.V.C., C.V.A., Holistic Veterinary Care, Oakland, CA
Halloween is right around the corner, and so are potential dangers that could affect your dog—loud noises, big costumes, chocolate and other sweets, etc.
Here are a few tips from Dr. Gary Richter, medical director of the award-winning Holistic Veterinary Care of Oakland, California.
• If you plan to dress your dog in costume this year, double check that it is not dangerous or aggravating for him. Remove any small parts that could be a choking hazard. Make sure your dog can breathe, see, and hear while wearing the costume. If you notice any unusual behavior, immediately remove the costume.
• Trick-or-treaters dressed in costumes may spook dogs. Ensure pets have proper ID tags in case they slip out during all of the commotion. Protect pets by placing them in a quiet room, or consider crating them, which may make them feel safer. Give your dog his favorite chew toy or blanket to comfort him.
• Be aware that Halloween decorations can cause choking or stomach upset if ingested. If you have jack-o-lanterns with lit candles, be sure to keep them away from your dog as well.
• Certain types of candies are also hazardous for our four-legged companions. Chocolate is dangerous in all forms. Dark or baker’s chocolate is particularly harmful because it contains higher levels of theobromine, which can cause nerve damage or death in dogs. Candies containing xylitol can be problematic as well. Please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if a pet ingests any of these substances.
• Finally, be aware of candy and candy wrappers discarded on streets during the weeks surrounding Halloween. Sweep outside your home and look for any litter that could pose a threat to your dog. If you have children, explain why candy and candy wrappers represent serious problems for dogs. By taking a few precautions this season, you will ensure that Halloween is a fun event for all.
Founded in 2007, Holistic Veterinary Care offers complementary treatments such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic, Pulsed Signal Therapy and nutritional counseling. For more information, call (510) 339-2600.