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Sep 23 2015

Halloween Safety Tips

dogs dressed in clown costumes

Halloween is right around the corner, and that means even more dangers lurking for family pets. Here at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center we’ve compiled a list of safety tips that you can share on social media, with your clients, or use as reference material for your front staff.

Candy

Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but a dog’s keen sense of smell will lead him to even the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact a veterinary professional right away if your pet does get into Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or if it is sugar-free and contains xylitol.

Glow Sticks

These fun little gadgets are commonly used to keep kids safe while they’re outside in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find the sticks to be a lot of fun as well. We commonly get calls about pets puncturing the sticks. While most of them are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste, and we’ll often see pets who bit into them and then began drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk and the taste reaction will usually stop.

Here’s a fun trick you can share with your clients: To make sure none of the glow stick material is on a pet’s coat, take him or her into a dark place – a closet or windowless bathroom, for example – and see if there’s any glow on the coat. Look particularly around the mouth and neck, and be sure to thoroughly wipe any spots off that glow with a damp cloth. This will help prevent the pet from licking material off their coat and having another reaction.

Anxiety

Some dogs experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from all the trick-or-treaters may do the trick, but if you think that your pet will need something more, speak with your vet well in advance. They may recommend a sedative – and it’s always a good idea to do a trial run before the big night to see how your pet will react. (Be sure to do that trial run while your vet is still open in case problems arise!)

Candy’s Chocolate Caper

Candy’s sweet tooth is getting her into trouble again. Brush up your chocolate intoxication treatment skills in anticipation of Halloween with this chocolate ingestion case.

Keep your pet identified and visible.

There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar and is securely leashed. And make sure your pet has proper identification on the collar.

Check those costumes

Costumes can be fun for the whole family. If you are planning on dressing up your best bud, ensure that the costume fits well and isn’t going to slip and tangle the pet or cause a choking hazard if chewed on. Never leave a costumed pet unattended.

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