October 11, 2005
From ingesting toxic food, candy wrappers or decorations, to being traumatized by sudden noise or harmful pranks, Halloween is one holiday that can threaten the safety, and possibly the life, of dogs, according to VCA Antech Inc., a network of animal hospitals.
Candy, especially chocolate, can be most harmful for dogs, said Todd Tams, DVM, DACVIM, vice president and chief medical officer for VCA Animal Hospitals. Even small amounts of theobromine, the key ingredient in chocolate, can quickly induce vomiting, choking, diarrhea, damage to internal organs and potentially lead to death. If your pet is exhibiting some unusual symptoms, and you suspect that they may have ingested chocolate, the best course of action is to take them immediately to you local veterinarian for prompt care.
Other candies and gum can cause dogs to choke, and wooden sticks from caramel apples, if chewed and swallowed, can cause serious damage to internal organs, VCA Antech reported.
The company also warned that pets can experience increased stress levels from commotion and loud noises that can accompany boisterous
trick-or-treaters. Many pets may become aggressive and protective when surprised or scared by trick-or-treaters, the company said.
Decorations, such as jack-o-lanterns with burning candles, faux spider webs and electrically wired lights are also potential risks, according to VCA Antech.
To prevent injuries or trauma during holiday traditions for pets, owners should implement simple safety guidelines, said Tams. Placing candy and trick-or-treat bags out of reach will ensure pets aren’t digesting toxic foods. Keeping pets safe and secure in a comfortable, familiar room while passing out candy is the best way to avoid and unwelcome incident.
Additionally, pets are much better off at home during Halloween outings, preventing unnecessary fright and the potential for pranks. Ensuring decorations and burning candles are strictly out of reach will also keep pets healthy, safe and happy.