Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Dangers for Pets, by Dr. Mosley

 1. Food Hazards
Different types of chocolate contain various levels of fat, caffeine and the substances methylxanthines. In general, the darker and richer the chocolate (i.e., baker’s chocolate), the higher the risk of toxicity. Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, dogs might experience vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Also, be aware of the wrappers that the candy leaves behind. The sweet smell is still on them, which will attract your pet! This can be very dangerous, not only is it a choking hazard, but it can cause damage to the organs! If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian.

2. Popular Halloween Plants 
Pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them. Also, be careful with carved pumpkins if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens and wagging tails especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

3. Wires and cords 
From electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock. This one is a year-round rule- but especially important during Halloween and Christmas!!

4. Costumes 
Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. Here are a few tips when considering a costume for your pet:
  • A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised. If left alone in costume, your pet may chew it up and ingest it. This could cause intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed.
  • Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and pain in the area of the elastic.
  • If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away while trick-or-treating, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.
5. Stress caused by Trick-or-Treaters 
Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place on Halloween. Some animals may also become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.

6. Keep your pets indoors 
Please keep your pets inside on Halloween night, especially black cats and dogs. Animals are at risk for cruel treatment by some Halloween pranksters. Many adoption agencies and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween for this reason. Please use caution when taking your dog outside. If you have any outdoor pets, consider keeping them inside for the few days surrounding Halloween.

Read more or contact Dr. Mosley:
Tiffany Mosley, DVM
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Jacksonville, FL  |

Dr. Mosley services towns in and around Jacksonville with a focus on the Mandarin & Orange Park areas as well as the beaches.

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