Oct 05, 2009
This past week in Indiana has been one of crisp temperatures and definite fall like weather. The full moon last night reminded me that we need to spend some time keeping your pet safe during the upcoming Halloween holiday.
Lots of people (me included!) love the spirit and fun of Halloween. We decorate our homes with spooky ornament and creepy pictures. And, most of the fun is finding that perfect Halloween costume! We even try to get our pets involved in the fun and that’s what I want to discuss today.
You have all seen pictures of the dachshunds dressed up in hot dog bun costumes, or the pug with eight spider legs or even the Great Dane dressed up like a bumblebee. These dogs seem to get excited about the holiday just like their owners. Unfortunately, not all of our pets like being dressed up. IF you are lucky and your pet tolerates a costume, be sure that it doesn’t use rubber bands or other constrictive devices that might cut off breathing or circulation. Also, don’t use costumes with toxic dyes or paints and make sure that its inedible as well.
If your pet struggles or seems uncomfortable in any way, just let him dress up in his “birthday suit” for the day!
When you are trying on your costume, remember that this is probably something new that your pet has never seen before. Our pets can be confused by big hats, masks, and other costume accessories. Territorial instincts are even triggered in some pets and that can cause a pet to act fearful or even aggressive.
Even when our pets are normally super social with people, costumes can baffle them. And, since you are responsible for your pet’s behavior, you want to be doubly sure that normally kid friendly Spot doesn’t go out and bite the little ghouls and ghosts flitting around the neighborhood.
With constant knocking or doorbells, this holiday is a bit too much excitement for some pets. Halloween is a big day for pets to escape and run off. Even fenced in yards are not ideal for this scary night. Consider letting your pet stay inside in a special quiet place, with his own treats. He will be safe and secure from the goblins there!
Even those decorations we spend so much time on can be a problem for pets. The fake spider webs and string like material are very tempting for our feline friends. When cats ingest things like these, there is a good chance that it will cause an obstruction and a trip to the Animal ER!
Likewise, candles in pumpkins can be easily knocked over, potentially burning a pet or even starting a fire. Be sure to extinguish all candles if you leave for your Halloween party.
Finally, as everyone is already aware, many of the “treats” we pick out for this holiday are dangerous to our pets. Chocolate is a definite problem, although the milk chocolate in most candy bars is less of a problem than semi-sweet or baker’s chocolate. In any case, if you pet ingests some of the candy, call your veterinarian with the amount your pet ate along with the weight of your pet. Some veterinarians might have you make your dog vomit, others will have you go to the ER. In some cases, just watching your pet is ok, but you definitely want to check with your veterinarian before making that assumption.
Candies with sticks or foil wrappers also have the potential to cause a digestive tract obstruction. And, don’t forget to keep candies sweetened with Xylitol out of the reach of dogs. This sweetener can cause extremely low blood sugar levels and possibly cause liver damage in our dogs.
All in all, this is a great holiday to have fun and let your “inner child” come out. Just remember that you as the adult still needs to be mindful of the needs of your “four legged children”.
Happy Halloween everyone!