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Pets can add so much to our All Hallows Eve, otherwise known as Halloween is upon us. Children are picking out costumes and adults are stocking up on treats for goblins and princesses to avoid any “tricks.” What does this mean for our furkids?
Halloween is a scary time for pets, it is plagued with very odd characters coming to their home after dark and yelling “Trick or Treat” while sticking out bags. Cats will not see the humor in the costumes. As for dogs, some are happy to have any visitors come to the door and may cope well, but for most dogs, it is frightening.
Pets do not need to participate in Halloween. It is fun to dress them up in costumes and if your pet likes to wear clothes, enjoy! If they do not, please don’t torment them with outfits that just cause stress. If you do outfit your pet in a costume be sure she does not eat strings, decorations etc. that adorn the outfit. If you use corn cobs in decorations, keep them out of reach. Dogs love to chew on them and can result in an intestinal blockage requiring surgery. As with all decorations, be sure electric cords are not where your pet can chew on them. Glow sticks can be fun, but not for your dog if he chews on them. It is best to not use candles or any open flame, in addition to the burn risk, they can be tipped over by a pet and cause a fire.
The night of Halloween it is wise to keep your pets indoors, dogs and cats can become anxious when noisy, oddly dressed groups of people wander about. If your dog gets stressed when the doorbell rings, it might be best for you to sit on the porch to pass out candy to minimize his stress. Not only is it scary for your pet, but the little trick or treaters don’t need a nip from a fearful dog. Pets would do best being sequestered in a part of the house away from the front door. This will eliminate some of their stress.
Not only during Halloween night, but also before and after, be aware of candy and where you store it. Dogs as well as cats will eat candy which can lead to gastrointestinal problems or even death. It doesn’t take much chocolate to be fatal to a small dog. Not only is chocolate a hazard to your pet but the artificial sweetener, “Xylitol” can be fatal even in small amounts to cats and dogs. Keep all candy with Xylitol well out of reach of your pets.
Halloween can be exciting and fun for the whole family. With thought and care our pets, too, can enjoy All Hallows Eve.
Dr. Nancy Schenck, D.V.M., of Four Loving Paws Veterinary Services, Inc., can be reached at 812-448- 1415. If you have a question or pet-related topic for Dr. Schenck to discuss in an upcoming article, email it to email@example.com.