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Halloween and Pet Safety
In the Home
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Halloween can be a stressful day for pets who may encounter unfamiliar sounds and faces.  The excitement of strangers ringing the doorbell can be unsettling and may encourage some animals to attempt escape.  

To keep your pet safe, consider confining him or her to another section of the house that is away and separate from the Halloween activities.  

To aid in the location and return of your pet, in the event that he/she does run away, make sure that your animal has a collar on that includes your contact information and his/her rabies tag.  By law, dogs and cats in Texas are required to be vaccinated against rabies.

Another option is to have your pet micro-chipped.  This can help expedite the process of finding and returning your pet to you.  Contact your veterinarian for more information regarding this procedure.

Pet owners are also encouraged to take several photos of their pets from many different angles.  This can help identify your pet quicker and more accurately if he/she does happen to get loose and is returned to the animal shelter.  

Outside of the Home
It is not advisable to bring your pet trick-or-treating with you.  The stress of being out in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar faces can cause even the most well-tempered pet to act out and possible bite or run away.

If you do take your pet, the animal should be well-trained and kept on a leash under the control of an adult.  As an added precaution, have your pet wear a reflective collar or a leash with flashing lights to increase the visibility of you and your pet.

Harmful Candy and Ingredients
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Chocolate: a popular candy handed out during Halloween.  The extent of toxicity an animal exhibits when chocolate is ingested is based on a variety of factors such as type of chocolate, size of the animal, and the animal's individual sensitivity to chocolate.

Some signs that might indicate chocolate toxicity include

  • excessive excitability
  • restlessness
  • increased hear rate
  • muscle tremors and seizures
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • severe reactions could result in a coma

Although there is no specific antidote for chocolate toxicity, animals can be treated by a veterinarian for any symptoms that they are exhibiting. If you suspect or know that your pet has ingested chocolate, consult a veterinarian immediately to discuss the appropriate actions to be taken.

Xylitol: an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free products such as gum, candy, or baked goods.  Even a small amount of this ingredient can cause toxic effects in dogs causing hypoglycemia and/or liver failure; it can also be fatal.  There has been some indication that ferrets react similarly to dogs.

Some signs that might indicate xylitol toxicity include:

  • weakness
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • muscle tremors and seizures
  • anemia
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • bloody or tarry feces

Signs of toxicity can start within 30 minutes of ingestion.  If you suspect that your pet as ingested this ingredient or a product labeled sugar-free, take him/her to the veterinarian immediately.

Fall Temperatures
As the weather begins to cool and cold winds start to blow keep in mind that your animal is not immune to winter temperatures.  

The Animal Welfare Act recommends that the ambient temperature for animals should not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  If the temperature drops below this, be sure to supplement your pet's environment with auxiliary heating and extra bedding, especially with sick, aged, or young animals. 

Additionally provide shelter for your pets that is adequately protected from direct wind, rain, and snow.  A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn't be comfortable, then your pets probably won't be comfortable.

Other Important Safety Information
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Glow in the Dark Jewelry: a very popular, must-have, Halloween item for humans and play-toy for pets.  Cats in particular may be attracted to it, but glow jewelry contains a chemical called dibutyl phthalate which may have the potential toxicity to cause death via respiratory paralysis.  

Cats generally only ingest a minimal amount due to its unpleasant taste and the small quantity actually present in the jewelry.  

Some signs to look out for include:

  • heavy salivation
  • hyperactivity
  • aggressive behavior

Cats typically recover within minutes.  To help dilute the chemical, feed your cat small quantities of milk, canned food, or tuna juice immediately after ingestion of the chemical.

Halloween Superstitions/Traditions: Halloween is a holiday that can encourage certain behaviors such as animal cruelty.  Black cats are particularly targeted for malicious acts due to the folklore associating them with bad luck and witchcraft; this also applies to white cats.  Calicoes and tortoiseshells are also more likely to be targeted due to their Halloween colors.  

Be sure to keep your pet safe in a comfortable and secure location, inside your home if possible.

Important Contact Information: If you know or suspect that an animal has ingested anything that could possibly produce toxicity, immediately consult a veterinarian, animal emergency clinic, or poison control center.  

The Texas Poison Center Network can be reached at 1-800-222-1222.  

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at 1-800-548-2423.