Boo! It is that time of year when there is a chill in the air and the ghosts and goblins come out to play. Unfortunately, Halloween isn’t always as fun for our furry friends. Danger lurks, in the candy bowl and beyond, so we asked Dr. Amy Goldstein, an emergency veterinarian at our Waltham, Massachusetts hospital, how to keep pets safe during this spooky time of year.
Pet Gazette: What kinds of candy are most toxic to cats and dogs?
Dr. Amy Goldstein: Chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If a dog or cat eats a big enough quantity, it can also affect the animal’s heart. Raisins and grapes are bad for the kidneys. Sugar-free candy can contain xylitol which is toxic to the liver. Though these are the foods we think about most for Halloween, any foods containing a high fat content can be potentially damaging to pets, especially their pancreas. All high fat food should be avoided at any time of the year.
PG: So our pets should definitely stay out of the candy bowl! What about other Halloween hazards?
AG: You should be careful your pet does not eat any strings, buttons or other decorations off of costumes or other Halloween decor. These things can get caught in the intestinal tract and could require surgery to be removed. They can also be a choking hazard.
PG: Speaking of costumes what should you do if your pet doesn’t like all those costumed people coming to your door?
AG: Dogs and cats can be kept in a quiet room away from the noise and frenzy of trick-or-treaters. Maybe give them a favorite toy and make sure they have water available, and a litter box for kitties. If your pet gets extremely anxious, you may want to discuss medication or other options with your family veterinarian.
PG: Thanks so much Dr. Goldstein! Any other parting advice?
AG: Have a safe and fun Halloween! And if something does come up, make sure to have your vet’s phone number on hand and also an emergency animal hospital in your area, like BluePearl. We are always happy to answer questions and help in any way we can!