Trick or Treat can spell trouble for pets
Who doesn't love Halloween? What could possibly be bad about colorful costumes, parties, and lots of tasty goodies? For our pets, it all can mean trouble.
The candy and other treats that we find delicious appeal to our pets too, but, for them, consumption can have disasterous consequences. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. A chemical in chocolate, theobromine, is the toxic culprit. Ingesting even a small amount can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, neurolgical signs, and even death. As a rule, unsweetened baker's chocolate is considered to be the most toxic and white chocolate the least toxic, but all foods containing any form of chocolate should be kept out of reach. Sugary treats, even if they don't contain chocolate, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Sugar-free treats may contain xylitol, another chemical which is toxic to pets. And, as all pet owners know, our pets are happy to eat candy wrappers if they can't have the candy itself. Eating candy wrappers, especially in large quantities, can lead to gastrointestinal blockages that may require surgical intervention. Wrappers should be disposed of where pets cannot access them. All candy and treats should be kept in closed containers in a high cupboard or other area where even the most determined chowhound can't sniff them out.
Halloween parties and trick-or-treat nights can be terrifying to pets. The noise and bustle of parties, and the unfamiliar sight of people in costume can trigger escape behavior in some pets. They may dart out the door when it is opened to admit a guest or to give out candy. A frightened dog may try to bite a costumed child. Some pets love having so many new people to admire them, but others are simply traumatized and want to hide. If you think your pet would be happier left out of the festivities, create a safe and secure spot for them in a quiet room where they can be away from the noise and activity.
Dressing in colorful, elaborate costumes in a big part of the fun at Halloween. We want our pets to look cute and share in the fun, but there are some precautions that should be taken in regard to pet costumes. The first consideration, of course, is the pet's safety. The costume should fit properly and not be snug enough to restrict movement, nor so large that the pet gets tangled in it. Eyeholes should be large and properly positioned to allow a full visual field. Attention should be paid as to whether the pet seems to be overheating in the costume. The costume should not interfere with the pet's ability to breathe, hear, or open its mouth.
Taking just a few simple precautions can ensure you and your pets have a safe and fun Halloween.