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No Tricks or Treats for Pets this Halloween

Pet parents who want to keep their felines from turning into scaredy-cats and keep their pooches out of the pet emergency room at the witching hour should follow some keep Halloween Safety Tips.

“The number one tip is to keep your pets away from the candy,” says Dr. Julia Georgesen of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. “Keep the candy up high and make sure your children don’t leave Halloween bags on the floor where pets can ingest candy and chocolate.”

Chocolate in all forms, especially dark chocolate or baking chocolate is very dangerous for dogs and cats. A key ingredient of chocolate is Theo bromine, which is similar to caffeine, and causes vomiting, restlessness, heart disturbances and even death. Candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol are also potentially deadly.  Xylitol drops glucose levels to dangerously low levels in pets causing weakness, seizures, and death.

“Pets don’t enjoy Halloween as much as we do,” says Georgesen. “They can get very anxious with the constantly ringing doorbell or the knocks on the door. It’s really best to have a frightened cat or dog put away in a bedroom or quiet place so they can’t try to escape or bite a child if they’re stressed or fearful.” Georgesen says make sure your pet has proper identification, including collar, tags and microchip, just in case it does escape when trick-or-treaters come to the door.

Candy wrappers can cause choking, obstructions and irritation to a pet’s digestive tract. Taffy apples or suckers may seem harmless, but the stick can cause choking or perforation of a dog or cat’s stomach. Ingestion of foil and cellophane wrappers can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction, which if severe, can require surgical intervention to correct.

Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets to prevent chewing, which could cause burns or a life-threatening shock. If you have a jack-o-lantern with a candle inside, take steps to prevent your pet from knocking it over and causing a fire. Curious cats might also get burned or singed if they get too close.

Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn’t likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely. Over the past year, Pet Poison Helpline received nearly 80 calls concerning pets that punctured glow sticks or glow jewelry, and 70 percent of the calls involved cats.

If you plan to dress your pet in a Halloween costume, do so only if you know your pet will like it. Costumes can be very stressful to some pets, so make sure it’s safe and doesn’t constrict the animal’s movement, hearing or ability to breathe, bark or meow. If the costume contains metallic beads, snaps or other small pieces, especially zinc and lead, can result in serious poisoning. Also, avoid dying or coloring your pet’s fur. The dye may be toxic to pets.

If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680

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