Halloween, with its potentially toxic brew of highly-decorated costumes and candy, can be a spooky - and dangerous - time for a pet.
The Pet Poison Helpline offers the following tips to ensure your pet has a safe holiday.
Tricks, not treats! Some human treats can be deadly for pets
o Chocolate: Make sure your kids hide their Halloween stash from food-seeking dogs. Ninety-five percent of Pet Poison Helpline’s chocolate calls involve dogs getting into chocolate candy. Keep in mind, the less sweet and the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your pet. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem.
o Other candy: Remember when you felt ill after gorging on too much candy? The same thing can happen to pets. Large ingestions of high-fat, high-sugar foods may lead to a condition called pancreatitis — a painful and potentially fatal inflammation of the pancreas. Signs of pancreatitis typically show up two to four days after ingesting a large high-fat meal. Monitor your pet for a decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea and other odd behavior.
o Raisins/grapes: While small boxes of raisins are popular and healthy treats for people, keep them away from dogs. Even small numbers of raisins or grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs (and possibly cats). Never offer grapes or raisins as snacks for your pets. Choose carrots, peas, green beans or apples instead.
o Candy wrappers: Not only is candy toxic to pets, but so are the wrappers. Few animals will bother to unwrap Halloween treats before eating them. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers may cause a bowel obstruction when ingested in large quantities.
· Halloween costume hazards
o Glow sticks/jewelry: Pets, especially cats, love to chew on these colorful toys. Though not highly poisonous, the glowing contents can cause pain and irritation in the mouth as well as profuse drooling, nausea and vomiting.
o Costumes: While dressing up our pets can be entertaining, keep in mind that your pet may not enjoy it. Make sure the costume does not impair their vision or movement. Also, beware of costumes containing metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces. If ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning. Never dye or apply coloring to your pets’ fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic, many are not meant to be ingested and can potentially cause harm.
Pets also may be afraid of people dressed in costumes and may not even recognize those they know. Fear can cause animals to act aggressively or in an unpredictable manner. If your pet seems nervous or afraid, make sure to have a safe area for them to hide or take a “time out.”
o Candles: Wagging tails and curious noses do not mix with candles. Keep candles well out of reach of four-legged friends and, when possible, use safe, electric lights in jack-o-lanterns.
If you think your pet may have been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.
Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24–hours a day, seven days a week for pet owners, veterinarians and vet techs that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Staff can provide treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. The helpline’s fee of $35 per incident includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. The ASPCA also operates a poison control hotline. Its consultation fee is $60.