Stash the Sweets
The candy bowl is for trick-or-treaters to dig through — not curious pets. Many popular Halloween treats can cause serious problems for Fluffy and Fido if ingested. All forms of chocolate, especially dark or baking chocolate, and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can be very dangerous for cats and dogs. If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, call GWLAH at 973-728-2233 or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.
Carved jack-o'-lanterns make festive Halloween decorations, but wagging tails can easily knock over lit pumpkins and start a fire. Excited pets can also get burned by candle flames. Be sure to keep cords for holiday lights and extension cords out of pets' reach to prevent electric shocks, mouth lacerations and GI obstructions. Pets also often find glow sticks to be a lot of fun and bite and puncture them. While most glow sticks are labeled non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste which may cause pets to begin drooling and racing around the house. According to the ASPCA, giving a treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste and reaction.
Costume with Caution
Unless your pet loves wearing outfits, the ASPCA recommends that you don't dress them up in a costume, as it may cause unnecessary stress. If you do decide to dress your pet up for Halloween, be sure the costume doesn't restrict his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe or vocalize. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling pieces that could easily be chewed off and present a choking hazard. Costumes that don't fit well could lead to injury if they get twisted on external objects or your pet. Be prepared to lose the costume if your pet shows signs of distress or abnormal behavior.
Keep Pets Calm, with Collars On
The constant knocks at the door or ringing of the doorbell on Halloween can be scary and stressful for pets. It may be helpful to keep all but the most social dogs and cats in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Keep an eye on Fluffy and Fido when opening the door for visitors, to ensure they don't dart outside, and always make sure they have proper identification in the event they do escape. A collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for your pet if they get lost.
Peter is completing his fifth year of veterinary medical school at Royal Veterinary College in London and just completed his small animal internship at Greenwood Lake Animal Hospital!
In a small-world twist, he's also Dr. Louer's next-door neighbor!
Congratulations on completing your internship with us Dr. Peter Striegel and good luck as you finish vet school!
Just a reminder that fleas and ticks are still hanging around at this time of year, so don't forget to continue giving your flea and tick preventatives! We know the temptation is to stop giving them around this time, as the colder weather begins to set in, but fleas and ticks don't take fall off so neither should you!
Fighting a flea infestation or dealing with tick-borne diseases is nobody's idea of a good time, least of all your pet's! Do them, and yourself, a favor and keep on keeping on with their monthly preventatives! Whether you set a reminder in your phone or mark it on the wall calendar, make monthly prevention a monthly priority!