Halloween's tradition of candy, costumes and trick-or-treating can be a threatening and potentially dangerous time for pets. What is fun for children can be a very stressful time for the family pet. It's natural for families, especially children, to try to include the family pet in all the fun; however, this is one holiday the pet should probably forgo. There are a number of hazards that pet owners should consider during Halloween.
-Loud and excessive noise created by trick-or-treaters can frighten your pet. Pets, especially dogs that are easily excitable or threatened by strangers, should be kept away from the front door to keep them from biting strangers or running into the street.
-Candy, especially chocolate (see here and here), is toxic for animals and can cause vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances, and even death; or products containing xylitol, a natural sweetener which is deadly to dogs. Candy should be kept out of reach of pets, and young children should be told not to share their Halloween "bounty" with their pet.
-Halloween costumes for pets can be cute, but owners should be wary of costumes that contain rubber bands to keep them in place on the animal. If rubber bands are mistakenly left on the pet after the costume comes off, they can quickly burrow into the animal's skin.
-Pets are better off left at home during trick-or-treat excursions. However, if they are taken along, it is best to keep them on a very short leash to keep them from fighting with other animals or biting strangers they encounter.
Each year, veterinarians across the country see scores of pet injuries during this time of the year that could easily have been avoided. Pet owners should keep in mind that pets are creatures of habit and can become very stressed when their environments suddenly change. They are much better off if they are protected from all the "traditions" of Halloween.
We want you to have a safe and healthy Halloween. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate (or in the case of dogs, xylitol) or other treats that cause discomfort, consult us immediately.