With Halloween right around the corner, it’s not just the little ghouls and goblins in the neighborhood that parents need to watch out for once the trick-or-treating begins. Your favorite furry friends also need some special attention during the spookiest night of the year.
Your trusted Vancouver dentist at Must Love Kids wants all of our patients to enjoy a happy and healthy Halloween. Unfortunately, the combination of costumes and candy offers many choking and dietary hazards for animals trying to take part in the fun by eating whatever comes their way. To make sure that every member of your family enjoys a safe Halloween, try keeping in mind these 10 tips.
- That bowl of candy sitting by the front door can seem like an awfully tempting treat to more than just the kids that come a knocking. However, the candy in that bowl can cause more than just cavities and an upset stomach if eaten by little Trixie or Mixie. All forms of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can be potentially dangerous to both cats and dogs when eaten. Candy that contains xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can also act as a toxin to pets. If your pet eats something hazardous, you need to immediately call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline, which can be reached at (888) 426-4435.
- Gourds, pumpkins, decorative corn, and other types of popular yard decorations are considered by vets to be relatively nontoxic, but they can cause some nausea and vomiting in pets when eaten. If you leave your dog fenced in during the day, remove any decorative food items from the porch or patio while your pet is unattended.
- A tip that also applies to the coming Christmas season, pet owners need to make sure any electrical cords and wires from lights, animated skeletons, or any other type of decorations are kept out of their pet’s reach. Little Frisky could get fried if he starts to nibble on these decorations when plugged in.
- While carving a pumpkin to set out on the porch is a great family activity and holiday tradition, placing a candle in the pumpkin could present a fire hazard if knocked over. Make sure you place any lit pumpkin off the ground, and consider using a non-toxic adhesive to safely secure a pumpkin into position.
- Even though the temptation to dress your pet up for Halloween may seem irresistible, not every pet enjoys playing make believe. To see if your pet has the temperament to play the role of tiny terror, try dressing her up prior to the big night. If your pet doesn’t seem to mind wearing a costume, you’re set. But if she seems stressed out or unhappy, you might consider letting her walk around o’natural on Halloween. Considering the stress and excitement already associated with Halloween for pets, giving them one less reason to get stressed out could be the best treat of all.
- When selecting what to dress your pet as, you need to consider more than what looks the cutest. Make sure any costume your pet wears doesn’t obstruct or limit his movement or hearing. Costumes also need to allow your pet to freely breath, bark, howl, or meow.
- Make sure any costume your pet wears doesn’t contain any small, dangling pieces that could easily be chewed off. Cut off or remove any potential choking hazards from your pet’s costume, and only dress your pet in a costume that fits. We’ve already covered what can happen with a costume that’s too small, however, a costume that’s too large can also present a choking hazard if your pet gets twisted up in the outfit.
- Unless your pet has a really outgoing nature, you may want to consider keeping all dogs and cats in room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat hours. Frequent knocks on the door by strangers can cause your pet to feel a lot of unnecessary stress. Large dogs could also cause quite the fright for little children, as well.
- If your pet likes to reenact scenes from “The Great Escape” whenever you open the front door, you should consider keeping him in another room.
- Accidents happen, and even the happiest of pets can get a little too excited and end up getting separated. Make sure your pet is wearing ID tags so if he or she gets lost or escapes the family has a better chance of experiencing a happy reunion.
Your friendly Vancouver dentist, Dr. Prashant, wants to wish you a happy Halloween. And remember, while a little candy is okay on Halloween night, make sure you little ones don’t continue to snack on sweet treats throughout the days following Halloween.