Pet Safety and the Tricks and Treats of Halloween

halloweenThe spookiest holiday of the year is quickly approaching, when ghosts, goblins, and candy make a major appearance. However, while we may enjoy the tricks and treats of Halloween our furry friends may find the holiday more terrifying than enjoyable and the treats to be more than their stomachs can handle. While we all know the dangers of chocolate, you may not know the various other treats and tricks you should consider when it comes to your pet so you both can enjoy the festivities.

Halloween Treats
Candy – Sugary, high-fat treats like candy and chocolate contain dangerous chemicals like xylitol and methylxanthines, which can make pets incredibly ill and lead to pancreatitis. If your pet got into your candy stash, it’s likely he or she also ingested wrappers. Cellophane or foil wrappers can cause bowel obstruction that may need surgery to correct. If you think your pet may have eaten some sweet treats look out for warning signs, including lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, increased thirst, or a high heart rate.

Raisins – You may have decided to take a healthier option this Halloween by handing out boxes of raisins. Raisins are very poisonous to dogs, so you need to keep them stored away from your pet. Even small amounts of raisins can lead to kidney failure and any amount should be considered a poisoning.

Pumpkin – While pumpkin has many health benefits for dogs in cat in pumpkinsmall doses, a large intake can cause digestive issues. You should keep your pet away from your carved jack-o-lanterns throughout the season, to prevent consumption and from knocking them over as they may have candles inside which could cause fires or burn your pet. Your pet will also love the smell of pumpkins once they begin to rot after the holiday, so be sure to avoid these bug-infested decorations.

If you believe your pet has eaten a poisonous treat, immediately call SPCA Florida at (863) 646-4647 or for emergency after-hours care contact the Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic on 3609 U.S. 98 in Lakeland at 863-655-3199, the Veterinary Healthcare Associates on 3025 Dundee Road in Winter Haven, or your nearest 24-hour emergency veterinarian service.

Halloween Tricks
Great Escapes – Trick-or-Treaters on the hunt for candy coincide with a constant ringing doorbell. The noise and presence of many strangers in unsettling costumes may be very stressful for your pet. Plus the constant opening and closing of your front door gives many opportunities for escape. Place your pet in a quiet, closed off room away from the festivities with his or her favorite toy and fresh water. Halloween CatAlso make sure your pet has identity tags and is microchipped with your up-to-date contact information.  SPCA Florida offers microchips for just $25 and if you need help registering your pet or updating your information, please give our staff a call at (863) 646-4647.

Haunted Houses – If you love decorating your house for the holiday, make sure the spooky decorations are kept out of the way of your pets. Dogs and cats can easily become entangled in fake cobwebs and electric wire and things like fake blood and rubber eye balls become easy, edible targets. Cats are very attracted to glow sticks and jewelry, and while not life-threatening, the gel can cause copious drooling and foaming, as well as mouth irritation and pain. If your pet does
consume the contents give her or him food to remove the product and bathe any of the chemical off the fur, which can lead to poisoning.

Dog in Bee Costume
Costumes
 – If you are dressing your pet for Halloween, make sure
not to include a mask or anything that will cover their eyes, ears, or impair them in
anyway. Remove small pieces from the costume to prevent possible ingestion and make sure your pet is comfortable with the costume at least a few days before the holiday. Our veterinarian recommends testing two fingers between the costume and the pet’s neck and to never leave your pet dressed without supervision as they can become tangled and choke. If your pet is at all uncomfortable with the costume it’s better to let him or her “come as they are” this Halloween.

Guarding for Goblins – Some people tend to over indulge during Halloween and will roam the streets causing havoc. Do not leave your pet out in your yard the night of, as there have been many cases where violent pranksters have stolen, injured, and even killed pets in yards. It is also recommended that you keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and after Halloween, as they can become targets around the holiday, especially if they are black cats.