We join the American Animal Hospital Association in educating pet owners about enjoying a pet-safe at Halloween.
Candy, costumes, trick-or-treating, and lots of little strangers in the neighborhood can create a scary and potentially dangerous time for cats, birds and dogs. Even though it's natural to want to include pets in family celebrations, this is one holiday that pets should forego.
There are a number of health hazards that pet owners need to be aware of: loud, excessive noise created by trick-or-treaters can frighten dogs, cats and birds. Pets, especially dogs that are easily excited or feel threatened by strangers, should be sheltered away from the front door in a quiet room. This prevents the nipping of small fingers or the pet escaping into the street when the door opens for trick-or-treaters.
Candy, especially chocolate, is toxic to animals and can cause vomiting, heart disturbances, or even death. All candy and sweets should be kept out of the pet's reach, and young children should be taught never to share Halloween "bounty" with their pets.
Halloween costumes for pets can be cute, but owners should be wary of costumes that contain rubber bands or elastic to keep them in place. If these bands are inadvertently left on the pet after the costume is removed, they can quickly become imbedded in the pet's skin and underlying tissue.
Pets are better off left at home during trick-or-treat excursions. If, however, they are taken along, it is best to keep dogs on a very short leash to prevent fights with other dogs or biting strangers they encounter.
Each Halloween veterinarians see pet injuries that could easily have been avoided, thus saving he pets suffering and their owners money. Pet owners should keep in mind that dogs, cats and birds are creatures of habit and can become easily agitated at any sudden change in their environment. They are really much better off, and much happier, being protected from all the Halloween festivities so that family, friends and trick-or-treaters can enjoy a safe and happy celebration.
Joseph Schmitt, V.M.D.
Andrea Neumaier, D.V.M.
Regina M. Shores, D.V.M.
R. Marcelo Melivilu, D.V.M.
Mary Margaret Applin, D.V.M.
Vickie H. Kondik, D.V.M.
Linden Heights Animal Hospital