Halloween may be great fun for children, but it’s an accident and/or injury waiting to happen for your pets.
Years ago, my fluffy-tailed cat jumped onto the counter where I was burning a Halloween candle. Before I could grab my kitty – ironically, her name was Blaze — her tail caught fire. Luckily, she immediately extinguished the flame with a tail twitch. But cats have been known to panic, spread fire to curtains, and burn down houses.
Lighted candles aren’t the only Halloween threats to pet safety.
Candy, especially chocolate, can be deadly to dogs. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as an artificial sweetener in many candies and gum, can cause low blood sugar, liver failure and seizures in dogs. Theobromine in chocolate can kill dogs and sicken cats. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most toxic types – as little as 1.5 ounces can harm a 10-pound dog.
If your pet eats candy, call the Pet Poison Helpline; for $49 per incident, helpline veterinarians will come to your aid. You can also download the helpline’s iPhone app ($1.99), which contains an extensive database of pet poisons and what to do if your pet ingests a toxic substance.
Halloween decorations also can be dangerous for pets, especially chewers. Glow sticks contain chemicals that can irritate pet mouths and can prove toxic; and decorations with strings or wires can choke a curious pet. Make sure you keep these decorations out of Fido’s reach.
One of the biggest threats to pets on Halloween is escaping when you open the door to trick-or-treaters. The Humane Society of the United States advises pet parents to tuck pets away in a quiet room before the festivities begin.
Here are more pet safety tips from the Humane Society on how to keep your pets safe during Halloween.
- Leave your dog at home if you go trick-or-treating. Many dogs become overexcited when they see packs of kids in costumes. And dogs can quickly discover and eat dropped candy, which can sicken them.
- Keep pets away from fake cobwebs, which can entangle or choke them.
- If you must make your pet wear a costume, pass on a mask or hat that will cover eyes or ears. Also, make sure costumes are comfortable and let your pet walk freely.
- Be sure your pets are wearing ID tags in case they slip out of the house.