Dog News

Halloween Safety

by Shawn Finch, DVM

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Halloween is coming up quickly!  Are you ready for a pet-safe holiday?

Abby Dog and Pumpkin
Beautiful Abby Dog being Brave

Safe Costumes

If you do dress your pets, do all you can to make costumes as stress-free as possible:

Consider a special pre-Halloween dress up day.  Post pictures of them in all their costumed cuteness, and let them spend the actual night of Halloween enjoying their normal nakedness.

Consider non-toxic hair paint instead of clothes if your pets really do not like being dressed up.  Be careful to keep the paint away from their eyes, mouths and noses.

Non-Dog Safety Tangent – If you are using hair paint on pets who typically groom themselves, such as cats or guinea pigs, make sure you bathe them as soon as you get a cute picture taken.  Even non-toxic hair paint is not meant to be ingested and could be dangerous.

Oddly, our Noodle the Poodle would prefer clothes over paint, so this year we are not making him dye his hair.  In the past, our gorgeous black pets (three dogs and a guinea pig) have been skunks, bumble bees, pandas and dominoes.  Noodle put his paw down this year, and we are going with his idea of Wizard of Oz costumes for him, Joy the Puppy and Max the Cat.

If you do dress your pets, do not leave them unsupervised in their costumes.  At the very best, they will respond like our friend Oscar Dog (who was not unsupervised, but was fast) who took his Darth Vader cape off and peed on it.  At the worst, they may ingest parts of their costume or become trapped or choked trying to wiggle out of it.

Make sure your pets’ costumes are comfortable and do not obstruct their vision or ability to potty.

Safe Treats

Even if your entire stash is officially “pet-safe,” an entire night’s earnings of high sugar treats and their wrappers are bad news for any pet.  The following treats are not  pet friendly in any amount, so be extra careful…

Chocolate – This one is so well known, it has almost become a cliché – no chocolate for dogs or cats!  So no one feeds their pets chocolate on purpose, but if they can, pets will often help themselves.  The three biggest determining factors of the severity of toxicity are:

  • the size of the pet
  • the type of chocolate ingested
  • the amount ingested

Check out this great toxicity calculator that National Geographic created.  If your pet does happen to get into your Halloween candy, this chart can be very helpful in quickly determining how dangerous a situation it could be.  Each pet may respond differently – if your pet is acting sick or you are at all concerned, call your veterinarian right away.  Better a false alarm than a toxicity not treated early.  Thank you for this link, Dr. Dan!

National Geographic Chocolate Chart

Raisins – These are a great healthy candy alternative for kids, but not for dogs and cats.  They contain a pretty serious kidney toxin, so make sure these are out of reach.

Gum – Some sugar-free gums (and other products) contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol.  This can cause dangerously low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs (but not cats or people).

Toys – Gastrointestinal obstruction is a risk if dogs eat the toys that are often in with the Halloween candy and may smell like Halloween treats.  Keep the bag out of reach and spend the rest of the year picking the cute little pumpkin and ghost toys up off the floor as soon as they get left there.

Safe Night

Between the weird sounds and weird lights and strangers at the door – dressed like scary monsters no less – Halloween can be anywhere from annoying to terrifying for pets.  On Halloween day, take the dogs for an extra walk and give them a safe place to which to retreat for the evening.  You may even want to have them rest in a closed back room or kennel so they do not get scared and bolt.

Please send me pictures of your super cute pets in their Halloween costumes and I will post them here next week!

DoggyLoot Coupon3

Have a Wonderful and Safe Halloween

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