Fall 2010 Magazine

Halloween Hazards

Pumpkins, costumes and Halloween candy are fun for people but they can hold potential dangers for the animals in your life. Here are some things to think about before your doorbell starts ringing with little trick-or-treaters.

. Ringing doorbells
Continually ringing doorbells and yelling children can stress pets. For your animal's safety and comfort be sure to put your dog or cat in a quiet room away from the front door and all the activity.

. Children in costume
Even docile dogs can become aggressive if they are surprised by something unusual. Children in costume can frighten your dog because they look strange and smell different.

. Candles and Jack-o-lanterns
Spooky as flickering candles might be inside a pumpkin or creating atmosphere in your home, they don't mix well with a dog's wagging tail or a frightened cat running through the house. It is better to be safe than create a fire hazard for your animals. Put the candles and Jack-o-lanterns outside.

. Keep your animals indoors
Besides being frightened by all the activity going on in the street, your animal might be at risk from Halloween pranksters. It's always better to be safe by keeping the animals inside. Let them hide under a bed if they are nervous. There are humane societies and rescue groups who won't adopt out black cats near Halloween because of the possible danger they might face.

. Candy
There is always concern about animals getting into holiday candy. Chocolate is toxic to animals. While your dog might not eat enough for it to poison him, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, vomiting, nervousness, increased heart rate, diarrhea, and in severe cases seizures and death. If you suspect your animal has eaten chocolate, call your vet immediately.

It isn't just chocolate that is a candy hazard, though. Lollipops with sticks can be hazardous if ingested. The sticks may cause an obstruction in the intestines. Candy wrappers can also cause difficulty if eaten.

The safest thing to do is keep all candy away from your animals.

. Costumes on animals
Some people like to dress their animals up in costume for Halloween. You might want to think twice about this. While some costumes are cute, they can present dangers to your animals.

Never put a costume on an animal and leave the animal unattended. The costume can get caught on obstacles or catch fire if the animal goes past a candle. If your animal gets outside with the costume on, it might get tangled in fences or caught on bushes.

Tight elastic on costumes can get lost in a pet's fur. This can be dangerous if you don't get it off the animal.

Costumes may have buttons or beads on them. These can be chewed by animals and cause difficulties in the intestinal system.

By using common sense and caution about what you allow your animals to do; you and your animals can have fun on Halloween.

Please remember if you see or suspect any acts of animal cruelty, report them to the animal shelter or authorities in your area.

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