Halloween is rapidly approaching. Yes, it’s time for ghosts and goblins of all sizes to dress up as their favorite character and play tricks for treats! Your canine child is probably already a pro at all sorts of tricks, but this is one season where you’ll want to keep a close eye on treats. Halloween candy is a tempting, but dangerous splurge for your dog, and the howliday brings other dangers as well.
Sweet and Deadly
Chocolate has always been one of my favorite Halloween scores, and it may be equally irresistible to your pets, as well. Of course, you know that chocolate can be bad (even deadly) for your pet, but do you know why? Chocolate contains chemicals called methylxanthines, and our canine friends are sensitive to their effects. Theobromine and caffeine are both methylxantines often found in chocolate. Depending on the amount of chocolate consumed, symptoms can range from vomiting and diarrhea to hyperactivity, high heart rate and even death.
Wrapped in Danger
Just because you’ve gotten rid of all the chocolate in your Halloween stash, doesn’t mean you should leave it unattended - and ripe for canine consumption. Foil and cellophane wrappers can cause intestinal blockage, resulting in severe illness. Severe intestinal obstructions require surgery to relieve, and often symptoms of this disease can be mistaken for a post-binge upset tummy, which delays diagnosis.
Dress for Success
Almost nothing cracks me up more than when one of my patients comes in sporting a Halloween costume. These days there are a variety of costumes for both dogs and cats, and while they might sulk or be embarrassed, it sure does provide for some often much-needed comic relief. Some dogs even seem to relish the opportunity to be the class clown, strutting around the clinic to cheers and applause. This Halloween, before your pooch dons his favorite Elvis or Yoda costume, check to make sure the fit is good. Costumes that are too restrictive, especially around the collar area, can become dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Also check for any loose beading, which could accidentally (or intentionally, in the case of some mischievous dogs) be ingested.
Glow in the Dark
If you have children, or if your dog is accompanying the neighborhood kids on their Halloween night escapades, beware of glow sticks, glow in the dark necklaces and other jewelry. As you know, some dogs will eat anything! While punctured glow sticks are unlikely to be lethal, they may cause irritation of the mouth and throat, as well as make an awful mess.
Taking a couple of steps to ensure dangerous items are kept well out of your pet’s reach will guarantee a less scary (but hopefully still spooky) Howl-o’-Ween!