It's that spooky time of year again. Here's our quick primer on keeping the four-legged members of your family safe and stress-free when the neighborhood fills up with ghosts, goblins, and twerking Miley Cyrus clones . . .
1) Keep that chocolate out of reach! Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can be a big problem for dogs and cats. The alkaloid theobromine, also found in cola beverages, is the culprit. Pets metabolize theobromine much more slowly than humans, and can easily consume enough chocolate to cause chocolate poisoning. Dark chocolate is more dangerous, but it’s all bad. The first signs of theobromine poisoning are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased urination. Get your dog to the vet right away if you suspect they’ve been into the chocolate. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems.
2) Wires and cords are a dangerous temptation, and can cause cuts, burns, and possible life-threatening electrical shock when chewed. And be careful with lit pumpkins, which can be risky if knocked over by an enthusiastic pet.
3) It’s a good idea to keep the critters away from that open front door during trick-or-treating hours, so excited or stressed pets don’t get an opportunity to dash out the door when scary strangers appear. And remember that animals might react unpredictably when they encounter a child in costume.
4) Think twice about pet costumes. If you do dress up your pet, make sure there’s nothing dangling that can be chewed or ingested, and that the costume doesn’t impede breathing. If the animal seems to be stressed out or uncomfortable, please skip the costume.
5) Make sure your pet had proper ID. Collar tags and a microchip can be a lifesaver if your pet escapes during the holiday excitement.