Halloween Safety for Your Pet

In my family, as I am sure as in many of yours, our pets are included in all of our celebrations and holidays. I am already planning ahead and trying to decide on the best costume for my dog as she helps pass out candy this Halloween. She has been many different characters but my favorites are the homemade creative ones with family themes – think Harry Potter or Wizard of Oz.

Pets and Candy

My dog is pretty patient but she would never tolerate some of the other super creative costumes I’ve seen. Some dogs love dressing up, being part of the fun and don’t mind wearing bulky or strange things, but I think it is important that we listen to their body language carefully and only dress them if they are enjoying it, not just for our amusement. Some animals love the experience and all the attention they receive, and some could leave it.

If bringing your pet trick-or-treating is the plan, keep in mind that they may become scared of the different sites and sounds in their neighborhood. Be ready to remove them from the situation if it becomes stressful or if they are just tired of walking. I’ve seen families walk with a wagon to carry water or even tired kids or pups as the evening progresses.

It is really important to be very diligent to ensure your pet does not get into the human treats. Most everyone knows that chocolate can be toxic to dogs, but did you know that other candies can be, too? Sugar-free candies and gum can actually be fatal if ingested even in small amounts.

The Dangers of Chocolate and Other Treats

Chocolate-covered raisins are usually not the most favorite choice of humans, but are doubly dangerous because the raisins can actually cause kidney failure.

In general, even nontoxic candy ingestion can cause an upset belly. Of course, if you think your pet has gotten into any, contact your veterinarian. Halloween is a notorious time that we see lots of vomiting and diarrhea and even impactions from candy wrappers! If you feel you need to give your critter some sort of goody, bringing their favorite treat along may be a safer way to go.

A lot of costumes and decorations will contain glow sticks. Cats are especially notorious for loving to chew on these. The liquid inside can cause intense irritation and copious drooling. Rinse your pet’s coat to remove any of the liquid that remains. They may become nauseous – if this continues, seek medical attention.

It is important to make sure the whole family is enjoying the holiday. Pay close attention to your animal’s responses to ensure they are not becoming stressed with all the new sights and sounds. Most importantly, have a Happy Halloween!

Dr. Tiffany Beischel is a local licensed veterinarian who is happy to answer any questions you may have about your pets. Feel free to call her at (386) 663-3989. 

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