As Halloween approaches, it’s time for pet parents to give some thought to a few simple things we can do to keep our four legged friends safe from the dangers of the season. No, we’re not talking about ghouls and goblins. We’re talking about the very real threats that face thousands of pets every year amidst the revelry of Halloween.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, calls about pets who have become ill after eating chocolate spike their highest around Halloween, with several thousand such calls every year. Dogs are particularly susceptible, since cats tend to be “tasters rather than eaters” while a dog might consume an entire bag of candy, wrappers and all. As little as four ounces of dark chocolate can cause seizures or even death in a dog weighing 40 pounds.
Along with danger from treats, there are several other possible threats to consider this Halloween. Here are the ASPCA’s top ten safety tips.
1) Keep the candy away from your pet. Chocolate in all forms, but especially dark or baking chocolate, can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, as can the artificial sweetener xylitol. Even foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be a choking hazard.
2) Watch those decorative plants. Pumpkins and decorative corn are relatively nontoxic, but can produce gastrointestinal upset or intestinal blockage should pets ingest them.
3) Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. Both the glass from the bulbs and the electrical current constitute a hazard.
4) If you place a lit candle inside a jack o’ lantern, remember that pets (particularly curious kittens) may stray too close causing danger to themselves and others.
5) If your pet doesn’t seem at ease in a costume, don’t force it to wear one.
6) Make sure than any pet costumes don’t constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede the ability to breathe, bark or meow. Try on costumes before the big night to make sure everything is alright.
7) Avoid ill-fitting costumes (too tight or too loose) for your pet or costumes with dangling pieces that can be chewed off and become choking hazards.
8) Keep your pet confined during visits to the door from trick ‘r treaters. Too many strangers may be scary or stressful.
9) Watch the door during trick ‘r treating so that your pet doesn’t dart outside.
10) Collars and tags are a must at all times. Halloween is no exception.
One last tip. If you do suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
With proper planning and observation of these tips, Halloween can be a festive occasion for both you and your pet. A little attention to safety can make a big difference in keeping your pet safe over the holiday.
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