NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Whether it’s toxic treats, constricting costumes, or fall activities, this season brings with it some health and safety concerns for pets.
Nexstar’s WKRN found a series of pet safety tips from Camp Bow Wow Animal Health and Behavior Expert Erin Askeland; the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); and VCA Animal Hospitals to keep an eye on for Halloween and the fall season.
When it comes to Halloween, one of the best things you can do is leave your pet at home when you’re trick-or-treating. As VCA Animal Hospitals explains, the costumes, strangers, and sounds can be overwhelming.
Keep your pet in a safe place at home, preferably behind a closed door and away from the ringing doorbell during trick-or-treating. You can even help block out the noise of the holiday celebrations by turning on the TV, playing soothing music, or turning on a fan.
There are many Howl-o-ween activities to keep your pet entertained such as: For example, host a scavenger hunt by stashing treats around the house for your pet to find.
If there’s a chance your pet might sneak out the open door while you’re distracted by trick-or-treating, make sure they wear some form of identification like a microchip, collar, or ID tag.
If you choose to dress up your pet, make sure they have a safe and comfortable costume. Experts say you should avoid costumes that:
- Restrict the animal’s movement, hearing or vision
- Impair their ability to breathe, smell, bark, or meow
- With small, dangling or detachable parts that your pet could chew off and choke on.
Let your pet try on all the costumes before Halloween so they can get used to them. If they seem distressed or exhibit unusual behavior, do not force them to wear the costume. Instead, just give them a festive collar, harness, or headscarf.
NNever leave a pet in costume unattended.
You should also avoid leaving your pet alone with the collected sweet treats.
All forms of chocolate, especially dark chocolate and baking chocolate, are toxic to dogs and cats because they contain caffeine and theobromine. These chemicals can have an impact your pet‘s brain, heart and muscles. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, changes in heart rate and rhythm, tremors, and seizures.
Raisins can lead to kidney failure and They’re covered in chocolate, they’re even more poisonous.
Candy corn and other candies made with pure sugar can cause severe gas and diarrhea, while bite-sized candies pose a major choking hazard, according to Pets Best.
Many sugar-free candies and gum contain a sugar substitute called xylitol, which is also dangerous for dogs and even causes blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels, leading to seizures and even liver damage.
Even candy wrappers can cause intestinal discomfort and gastrointestinal blockage. If you think your pet has ingested something toxic, you are urged to call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.
Besides sweets, some decorations and accessories can be dangerous for your pet. This includes counterfeit cobwebs, batteries, toys, power cords, glowsticks, and costume pieces that can cause choking, internal injury, or illness.
After Halloween, there are other fall-related hazards to be aware of if you have pets, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.
This includes items like mothballs and rodenticides that can be toxic to pets. Experts recommend using pet-friendly options or hiring a professional when it comes to protecting your home from rodents.
When preparing your car for the winter months, you may be using antifreeze. It’s important to know where your pet is because if they ingest even a small amount of antifreeze or any other chemical you use on your vehicle, you should take them to the vet immediately.
If you plan to walk your dog during hunting season and you are in an area where hunters may be present, be sure to dress in bright orange or another bright color to ensure you are visible.
Although it can be colder outside, vets say fleas and ticks can remain active for some time. Your pet may also be exposed to leptospirosis, a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria found in moist soil or stagnant water. There is a vaccine your pet can get to protect them.
Some wild mushrooms and fall vegetables like onions and garlic can also be harmful to pets.
If you are concerned that your pet may have encountered or swallowed something harmful, or if you have additional questions about your pet’s safety, consult your veterinarian.
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