Dr. Joyce Ashamalla
Dr. Joyce Ashamalla is the managing partner at Hinsdale Animal Hospital with Kremer Veterinary Service, as well as a partner at CARE Animal Emergency Hospital. She received her BS in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois- Champaign Urbana, where she also completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2007. She is AO certified, USDA-APHIS accredited, and is a member of the CVMA, ISVMA, AVMA.
Halloween is a really fun time of year, when little ghosts, goblins and other scary creatures lurk about at every turn. While it’s easy to get caught up in all the holiday festivities going on with family, friends and neighbors, it’s very important that we keep our pets safe and serene during the Halloween season. For pets, Halloween time can be confusing, stressful and sometimes scary. Our little four-legged companions don’t understand what all of the extra noise, smells and sounds are about and it can cause them anxiety. While we all strive to make sure that the young people in our lives have a safe and fun Halloween, here are some great tips on how to keep the animals in our lives safe too.
Halloween Pet Safety Tips
When planning for Halloween and all the activities that go along with it, it’s important to keep in mind the following important information.
Pets and Candy
While candy is quite harmless to people, it can be very dangerous for pets. A lot of Halloween candy is made from chocolate, which can be extremely toxic to dogs. Even other types of candies that are not made from chocolate can be extremely harmful such as products that are made with xylitol. This chemical can appear in sugar-free gums and candies and can cause significant problems for dogs. Candy and gum wrappers can also prove to be choking hazards to animals. When doling out the Halloween candy this year, be sure to store it away from pets and be very careful that none of it spills onto the floor. For some great information on healthy and safe homemade dog treats, click here.
Dogs and especially cats are attracted to lights that glitter or to Halloween decorations that move or swing. As best as possible, make sure that your pets don’t have access to these items as they can be injured or even shocked by the electrical supply. Displays with candles are never a great idea from any perspective, but can be especially dangerous to animals if they get burned or sprayed with hot wax. Some Halloween decorations make use of real food such as pumpkins, gourds or corn and while these items are not toxic to dogs, they can cause stomach upset and GI obstruction. In essence, there aren’t really any good reasons to let your dog or cat get near your Halloween displays. Sometimes pet owners like to dress up their animals as part of the fun activities. It’s ok to put a costume on your dog or cat, but be sure that it does not restrict their walking, breathing or sight.
When the big day comes and it is time to receive your Halloween revelers, there is going to be a lot of extra activity going on with ringing doorbells, open doors etc. Based on your pet’s personality, you will want to plan ahead to make sure that she handles Halloween as best as possible. If your pet is friendly, social and doesn’t mind having a lot of people around, it might be fun to let her participate in the holiday activities. However, if you have an animal that gets stressed out or frightened easily, it is advisable to keep her away from the activity. Putting her in another room with gentle music playing to drown out the extra noise can go a long way in helping her to stay calm. If there is a chance that your pet is going make a break for it through an open door, make sure that she has all of her tags and ID’s on her collar.
Halloween is a fun time for both adults and children. Our pets are special to us and we want to make sure that they stay safe and calm during all of the festivities. By planning ahead and keeping in mind how your pet will most likely react to all of the activities that Halloween night brings to your home, you will be able to ensure that everyone has a good and spooky evening.
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