It’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement at Halloween but we need to remember to be extra vigilant with our pets during this busy time. Whether it’s Trick or Treating, or parties at home it’s very important to avoid the following dangers:
1. Ingesting chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine (a vasodilator and diuretic) which can cause life threatening seizures and/or increased heart rate. If your pet ingests chocolate call your veterinarian immediately. The type of chocolate (milk, dark) and the amount are important information that your vet will need. Depending on what was ingested, no treatment may be needed, or emergency treatment may be needed.
2. Ingesting Xylitol: Xylitol is a natural product derived from sugar and is used to sweeten things such as chewing gum. It is safe for humans but not for our pets. Even small amounts can be dangerous for dogs. It causes the pancreas to secrete more insulin than usual causing a dangerously low blood sugar which can be fatal. Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests anything with xylitol in it.
2. Noise: Your pet may become very anxious or stressed with the sounds of children coming to your door, whether they knock, ring the door bell or yell “trick or treat”. Be prepared. Putting your pet in a quiet room may help, a Thunder shirt, or maybe spending some time at a friend’s house that will be quieter. In some cases some anti-anxiety medication may help.
3. Escape: When the door is constantly being opened for Trick or Treaters there is a chance that your pet may slip out unnoticed. Be vigilant. Put your pet in a room or in a crate to keep them safe.
4. Decorations: These can become a hazard if your pets eat them. They can become lodged in the intestines and cause a life threatening emergency. Keep your pet away from all decorations or small toys. Call your veterinarian immediately if your pet ingests something, or begins to show signs of being unwell.