Halloween is right around the corner, and so are potential dangers that could affect pets.
“Schools, neighborhoods, and individuals celebrate Halloween on different days. Be alert throughout October and the beginning of November. If a cat or dog has anxiety issues, be aware that Halloween may be a stressful time for them. Take measures to reduce pet’s exposure to potentially scary situations, such as loud noises, groups of people, and big costumes,” said Dr. Richter.
Here are a few tips from Dr. Gary Richter, medical director of the award-winning Holistic Veterinary Care of Oakland, California.
- Halloween is a lot of fun for kids and adults, but it represents strange sites and sounds for dogs and cats. Simple measures such as walking a dog before trick-or-treaters arrive will avoid scaring them.
- If a pet will wear a costume this year, double check that it is not dangerous or aggravating for them. Remove any small parts that could be a choking hazard. Make sure your animal 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 pets. Pets may become frightened if Frankenstein and Dracula come to your door. Ensure all 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 a pet their favorite chew toy or blanket to comfort them.
- 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 animals as well.
- Certain types of candies are also hazardous for furry 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.
- Another potential danger is that people often hand out coins instead of candy. Take care that animals do not swallow the coins. Ingested pennies can cause severe health problems and even death due to their zinc content.
- 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 animals. If you have children, explain why candy and candy wrappers represent serious problems for pets. 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.