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PET TIPS; Halloween One of the Most Dangerous for Pets

Halloween is one of the country’s favorite holidays, but it is typically one of the most dangerous holidays for pets. In fact, each year, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital, which has more 100 practices nationwide, sees an approximate 250 percent increase in pets treated for chocolate toxicity in the week following Halloween.  

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In addition to BluePearl veterinarians seeing pets for toxic food ingestion, like chocolate, they also treat pets for injuries associated with decorations or becoming lost. 

To help pet owners prepare and to ensure pets are kept safe, BluePearl is highlighting the most common Halloween dangers for pets.  

  1. Treats and chocolate. The biggest risk for pets this time of year is candy ingestion. And dogs and cats are great at mopping up candy on the floor, finding the candy basket, and getting up on counters to get their fix. Chocolate, specifically dark, is highly toxic to pets, but raisins and xylitol, a sugar-substitute found commonly in sugar-free gums and mints, are also dangerous and should be avoided. Even one piece of sugar-free cum can be toxic for a small pet. Make sure all candy and sweets are placed away in closet, draw, or pantry. 
  2. Wires and electrical props. Halloween props and electrical devices can pose a threat to pets if they bite or chew on the wires or ingest the materials. Chewing at the wires can cause burns on the tongue, gums, and even lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs. While electrocution injuries are not common, they can be life-threatening. Young animals in particular tend to be very curious and should be monitored closely if there are electrical devices that are accessible to them. If possible, completely cover or hide wires and outlets from all pets. 
  3. Candles. Not only are cats and dogs curious but brushing up against an open flame can cause their fur to catch on fire, and even lead to a house fire. Take precaution and opt for battery-operated candles this holiday. 
  4. Candy wrappers and bags. Candy and treat wrappers can also be dangerous to pets, as they can cause choking or gastrointestinal obstruction. Plastic bags and candy bags can also cause pets to suffocate if they get their heads stuck inside. Dogs in particular, rummaging through bags, can easily get their heads stuck in plastic bags, causing them to suffocate within minutes. Once their head gets stuck, they panic, and hyperventilate, which will cause the bag to form a seal around the face depleting them of oxygen and can lead to death. Be sure to immediately dispose of candy wrappers and bags. 
  5. Tick-or-Treaters. Dogs and cats can get spooked by the doorbell and trick-or-treaters, particularly if they are in costume. It is important to minimize stress for your pets. This can be done by isolating them in a quiet area of the house, with calming music and their favorite toys.  In some more severe cases, animals may require other forms of anxiety relief, including medications and supplements. These should always be discussed with your veterinarian. During peak trick-or-treating hours, pets can also easily escape through the front door and become lost. Keep a close eye on pets during this time, and think about securing them in a room or crate.