Halloween Safety

By October 20, 2021 December 5th, 2022 No Comments

Keep Halloween in Whitinsville Fun and Safe for Your Pet

Like many of you, we enjoy celebrating Halloween at PawSteps. This spooky holiday can be a lot of fun for both pets and people, but we know first-hand that it can also pose risks to our dogs and cats.


Here are 10 top Halloween dangers for pets, as well as tips on how to help keep the holiday safer for your cat or dog.


  1. Chocolate Treats

While chocolate is a welcome treat for trick-or-treaters at Halloween, it’s always off-limits for pets. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine—both of which are toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more danger it poses, but chocolate in any form can make pets quite ill. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness. In severe cases, it can cause seizures and death.


  1. Treats With Xylitol

Extremely toxic to dogs, this popular artificial sweetener is used in many candies, sugar-free gum, baked goods, some peanut butters, and toothpaste. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver damage, and death in dogs. Initial signs of xylitol poisoning often develop quickly (although they can take a few hours or days) and may include vomiting, weakness, and lack of coordination. Xylitol is not currently known to be toxic to cats, but we suggest being cautious and keeping all xylitol-sweetened treats away from both dogs and cats.


If your pet has eaten something toxic, call us right away at 508-234-9987! This is a serious, potentially life-threatening situation. During off-hours, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 (a fee may be charged).


  1. Candy Wrappers

Besides the possible chocolate left behind that pets could lick, wrappers can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage. Make sure all candy wrappers make their way into a secured trash can, and keep an eye out for any leftover wrappers around the neighborhood the next day so your curious pet doesn’t gobble them up.


  1. Too Many Treats

Even treats that are safe for pets can cause harm if your pet eats too many. While trying to keep your pet calm or attentive inside or while outside trick-or-treating, be conscious of how many treats you’re feeding your pet. Breaking larger treats into smaller-sized bites can help you limit the amount you’re feeding.


  1. Decorations

Consider Halloween décor carefully. Spooky decorations with flashing lights or noise effects can startle pets, and fake spider webs and spiders can cause choking or intestinal hazards if swallowed. Keep any electrical cords secured and out of reach of your pet, especially if your dog or cat likes to gnaw on them. Alternatively, only display decorations that are battery powered or that don’t require power. In addition, keep any edible decorations out of reach of your pet. Eating gourds, jack-o’-lanterns, or decorative corn can cause serious digestive upset or worse in pets.


  1. Door-Dashing Escapes

Even if your pet doesn’t normally dart toward open doors, the commotion around Halloween can be stressful. Consider blocking access to the front door with a baby gate, putting your pet on leash or in their crate, or keeping your pet inside a back room they feel safe in. These preventive steps can also keep curious pets from grabbing treats out of hands.


  1. Trick-or-Treating

Costumed strangers, crowds of children, and flashing, animated decorations…this holiday can be a recipe for scaring pets. If your pet gets loose, they could end up being hit by a vehicle or becoming lost. Consider leaving your pet safe and sound at home.


<callout> Keep a collar and ID tags on your pet, and consider microchipping, if you haven’t already done so. If your pet does escape or become lost, you want to have the best chance of getting them back.


  1. Glow Sticks

Glow sticks and glow jewelry (necklaces and bracelets) may intrigue curious cats in particular, but keeping these popular kids’ accessories out of your pet’s reach is wise. Although the contents aren’t especially toxic in such low doses, they are quite bitter to pets. If a cat or dog bites into a glow stick, it can cause drooling and gagging, which can be made worse if the pet tries to groom to get rid of the liquid.


  1. Candles

Besides potentially burning your pet, candles in jack-o’-lanterns can get knocked over inadvertently by a wagging tail or scared pet darting by. Avoid leaving candles burning unattended in pumpkins and other decorations, and consider replacing lit candles with flameless, battery-powered versions or flashlights to help keep everyone safe.


  1. Costumes

Dressing your pet up for Halloween can be fun for both of you, but make sure you choose an appropriate costume that your pet will actually enjoy wearing. Ill-fitted or uncomfortable costumes could make your pet anxious or restrict their ability to walk, see, or breathe. Ties, strings, or dangling accessories can become a choking hazard. Supervise your pet with the costume at all times. Gradually introduce it to your pet (first letting your pet sniff it before attempting to try it on, for instance), and pair these events with tasty treats. Not all pets enjoy dressing up, however. If your pet just doesn’t want anything to do with a costume, you can try outfitting them with a Halloween-themed collar, leash, or other accessory instead.


Have a happy Halloween with your pet!

At PawSteps Veterinary Center, we want to help make sure you and your pet enjoy a safe Halloween. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about how your pet might react to the holiday. If your pet tends to be anxious around excited children or loud noises, we have options that can help. Give us a call!


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