Massachusetts Pet Owners: Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pet

halloween-safetySecond only to the Fourth of July, Halloween is a very dangerous holiday for pets. Preparing for the potential pitfalls of the holiday is the best way to avoid any issues that could become very dangerous for your furry friend. New Bedford pet owners and veterinarians need to be on alert and aware of the common situations that cause the most problems for cats and dogs. Knowing what to look out for – and what to avoid – is the first and best step toward protecting your pet on October 31st.

Anxiety Issues in Dogs

With all of the strangers in the neighborhood dressed in costume and going door-to-door for trick-or-treat, it is important to keep your pets in the house if possible. Anxiety issues in dogs can cause pets to jump fences where they could get lost or get hit by a car. Many parents drive their children into bigger neighborhoods to collect candy, so residential streets can be much busier than usual. Keep your dog in a room at the back of your house away from all the doorbell ringing and visitors.

VET TIP – Speak with your veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth if you believe your dog’s anxiety issues are something to be concerned about before the holiday arrives. Some dogs may benefit from prescription medication, while others may be calmed and soothed using specific techniques.

Black Cat Alert

The number one animal that most people think about this time of year is the black cat. Unfortunately, they become the target for cruel and disgusting pranks by teenagers or get adopted simply to become a “prop” at a Halloween party. Many shelters restrict adoption of black cats during the month of October to avoid this. If you own a black cat, make sure to keep it indoors during Halloween. Even if nobody tries to grab your kitty for some reason, the increased traffic from trick-or-treaters alone can make if dangerous for an outdoor cat to navigate on streets that are usually quiet.

Toxic Foods for Pets

The animal poison control center at the ASPCA is flooded with phone calls by worried pet owners every year due to a couple of holiday associated risks. The first is toxic foods for pets, such as chocolate or other types of candy, which can make pets really sick and, in some cases, can even be fatal. Keep candy in a place where your pet cannot reach it. Children love to keep pumpkins full of candy in their rooms, but it’s not healthy for them either. The two candies most dangerous for pets are any type of chocolate and sugar-free products that contain xylitol, such as sugar-free gum or suckers. If your pet does eat Halloween candy, make sure to find out what kind and call your veterinarian at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth right away. Provide as much detail about what your pet ate so the vet can identify whether or not toxic foods for pets were ingested.

VET TIP – Let your veterinarian know if your dog has vomited following ingestion of Halloween candy. It is important to be able to identify signs of chocolate toxicosis quickly even in pets that have only eaten just a small to moderate amount of chocolate candy. You might think that it is all out of their system after vomiting, but the chocolate could have already gotten in their system. Even if they aren’t exhibiting any other symptoms, the vomiting could be significant. Don’t forget to share this information with your vet.

Choose Costumes Wisely

Sometimes you want to take your furry friend out trick-or-treating with you to avoid leaving him at home alone on October 31st. If your pet is a good candidate and you aren’t seeing any anxiety issues in dogs with other crowded or noisy situations, just make sure to keep your pet visible at all times. Pets can slip off of a leash if they get scared and dart out into traffic. Make sure your pet has a reflective collar and proper identification if you become separated. If your pet will be wearing a costume, make sure it fits well and won’t become a choking or tripping hazard.

Beware of Glow Sticks

Everybody likes glow sticks. They’re a lot of fun and used quite frequently on Halloween as part of costumes or to help keep kids visible and safe while they are out trick-or-treating in the dark. Dogs and cats are attracted to glow sticks as well and like to play with them and chew on them. Unfortunately, they can become easily punctured and the ingredients inside can be dangerous. Even if the label says non-toxic, you should never allow your pet to play with glow sticks. They inside is extremely bitter and can cause your pet to drool uncontrollably. Some milk in a bowl or a treat can help to stop the drooling and bad taste. Make sure to wipe off any glow material to prevent your pet from licking and ingesting it again.

VET TIP – If you feel that your pet’s reaction is beyond control and you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian or come by the emergency animal hospital in Dartmouth. Most glow stick reactions are mild and very limited, especially if you can get all of the substance wiped off and give your pet something to take away the taste and the drooling, but it is always better to be cautious if you think it is something more serious.

Year-Round Pet Care at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth

Bring your pets in for an annual check-up at Anchor Animal Hospital. New Bedford pet owners and animal lovers from all over the South Coast region have been trusting the knowledge, experience and services at Anchor since 1975. Whether you have questions about anxiety issues in dogs, vaccination concerns for cats or need general information about toxic foods for pets and what to avoid, our staff is here to help. Give us a call today at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to ask a question about your pet.

Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth wishes you and your pets a safe and happy Halloween!