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Six do’s and don’ts for pets on Halloween

If your pets could talk, they would try to convince you there’s nothing wrong with giving them great gobs of Halloween candy.

Sorry Fluffy and Fido, but veterinarians disagree. Every year, animal hospitals treat dogs and cats who have sickened themselves on candy or gotten injured after disappearing into the spooky night.

“It’s really common for us to see patients who have gotten into the Halloween treats,” said Dr. John Gicking of BluePearl Veterinary Partners, who is board-certified in veterinary emergency and critical care. “Sometimes a bag of candy is left on a bed and the dog jumps up and eats it. This can cause GI upsets, diarrhea, dehydration and other problems. ”

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make Halloween a safe and fun day for pets and their people. So BluePearl has prepared this list of do’s and don’ts.  These guidelines should keep your pets purring or wagging tails – hopefully, somewhere other than the emergency room.

DON’T – Let your kids leave their trick-or-treat bounty on the bedroom floor or even on their bed. Your dog will consider this an invitation to a midnight snack and snarf down the goodies without bothering to unwrap them. The candy is bad enough, because rich and sweet foods can lead to pancreatitis or other gastrointestinal problems.  Swallowing a bunch of wrappers can also lead to intestinal blockages.

DO — Give your pets other types of Halloween treats. Buy their favorites at the grocery or pet store, or read this article for tips on pet-friendly dog treats such as healthy pumpkin carrot bites or mini pumpkin smoothies.

DON’T – Leave your sugar-free gum or certain low-fat candies or baked goods around the house if you have dogs. The problem is xylitol, a sugar substitute that appears in some sugar-free gums. It’s safe for humans, but deadly for dogs. Do everything you can to make sure dogs cannot get into the stuff.

DO – Take photos of yourself and your pets in fun or silly costumes. Sometimes these become your favorite pet pictures. While your pets may not fully comprehend that they are dressing up as Wonder Woman or Darth Vader, they will appreciate any time spent together with you. Just make sure any costume is loose-fitting and does not contain buttons or strings that might get chewed and swallowed. Also, your pet should only be in costume while you are present and supervising them.

DON’T – Leave glow-sticks on any table or counter that a cat might leap onto. Glow-sticks are mesmerizing for cats – like catnip or a really great piece of string. But unfortunately, the luminous chemicals can sicken cats. And some of them contain glass. It’s easy for kids to leave a glowing bracelet on the floor or kitchen table, so be careful.

D0 – Keep your dogs and cats away from the front door as trick-or-treaters arrive. It’s really easy for pets to escape during this time. All the visitors may be confusing to them, and could lead them to behave in a manner you don’t suspect. You don’t want your dog or cat scampering across a dark street, especially on a night when drivers may be distracted.

Sometimes pets do get sick or injured, in spite of our best efforts, so remember that most BluePearl hospitals are open 24 hours a day – even on the scariest night of the year.