Halloween brings a variety of circumstances that can cause stress to pets or make them ill: decorations and costumes around the house, a constant stream of trick-or-treaters at the door, and bowls of candy and chocolate that pets could get into. The good news is you can help minimize this stress with some planning and knowledge, to ensure that you and your pets have a sweet holiday instead of a spooky one!
Many pets are made nervous and stressed by changes to their environment, which can certainly apply to Halloween decorations, especially ones that light up, move, or make noise. If you have a historically nervous pet made fearful by environmental changes, you may want to consider some calming medications or supplements to reduce their anxiety. Decorations, as well as Halloween costumes, can also be a hazard for the curious cat or dog if chewed on or swallowed, which may result in a very expensive vet visit! A little bit of careful planning can save you a lot of heartache and money.
Your pet’s stress and anxiety may also be caused by the scores of unfamiliar children and their parents at your door on Halloween night. If this is the case, putting your pet in a room that is further from the noise and people, with a radio or television playing to drown out the noise, may be a good idea. Pets could also take advantage of a frequently opened front door, slipping out during all of the excitement and becoming lost in the sea of juvenile Batmen and ballerinas – make sure you know your pet’s whereabouts when you are handing out candy! The possibility of a lost pet is also a great reason to consider having your pet microchipped.
We all know that too much candy can give a person an upset stomach, but the outcome could be much worse for a dog or cat if they happen to eat even a small amount. Chocolate can be particularly toxic, with the consequences of ingestion ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to much more serious ones like organ damage and death depending on the amount and variety of chocolate consumed. Candies containing raisins, as well as artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, are also very dangerous. Please call us if any accidental ingestion of candy or chocolate occurs.
The Pet Poison Helpline can be a valuable resource to call upon if your pet does happen to ingest something that it shouldn’t. There is a fee to use this service, but they have a wealth of knowledge of substances that a pet could eat, and are able to advise you if the situation is urgent and requires medical intervention. If your pet has been microchipped at our clinic within the past 12 months, or if you pay the optional yearly registration fee for your pet’s HomeAgain microchip, the cost for using the Pet Poison Helpline is waived -- be sure to provide your pet’s microchip number when you call. You may reach the Pet Poison Helpline’s website at https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/ and contact them by phone at (855) 764-7661.
If you have questions about Halloween safety or if you think that your pet may benefit from medications or supplements to help lessen their holiday-related anxiety, call us! We’re here to help you and your pet have a fun holiday, not a scary one!