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How to protect your pets from these Halloween hazards, fall risks

NASHVILLE, TN (WKRN) — Whether it’s toxic treats, edgy costumes, or fall activities, this season brings many health and safety hazards for pets.

Nexstar WKRN has found a number of pet safety tips Bow Wow’s camp animal health and behavior expert Erin Askeland; in American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); and VCA Animal Hospitals keep in mind for Halloween and the fall season.

When it comes to Halloween, one of the best things you can do is leave your pet at home when you go out to treat. As VCA Animal Hospitals explains, costumes, strangers and sounds can be overwhelming.

At home, keep your pet in a safe place, preferably behind a closed door and away from the doorbell during treat time. You can even help drown out the noise of the holiday festivities by turning on the TV, playing some soothing music, or setting up a fan.

There are many Woah-oh-ween activity to entertain your pet, such as organizing a scavenger hunt by hiding treats around the house for your pet to find.

If there’s a chance your pet will crawl out the open door while you’re distracted with treats, make sure it has some sort of identification, such as a microchip, collar, or tag.

If you want to play dress-up with your pet, make sure they have one safe and comfortable suit. Experts say you should avoid costumes that:

  • Limit the animal’s movement, hearing and vision
  • Interfere with their ability to breathe, smell, bark or meow
  • Include small, dangling or detachable pieces that your pet can chew and choke on.

Let your pet try on any costumes before Halloween to get them used to them. If they look upset or are acting unusual, don’t make them wear the costume. Instead, just give them a festive collar, harness or bandana.

Never leave a pet in a costume unattended.

You’ll also want to keep your pet away from the sweet treats you collect.

All types of chocolate, especially dark and baking chocolate, are toxic to dogs and cats because they contain caffeine and theobromine. These chemicals can have an effect your pet‘s brain, heart and muscles. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, changes in heart rate and rhythm, tremors, and seizures.

Raisins can lead to kidney failure and if they are covered in chocolate, they are even more toxic.

Candy corn and other candies made with pure sugar can cause severe gas and diarrhea, while bite-sized hard candies are a major choking hazard, according to The best pets.

Many sugar-free candies and chews contain a sugar substitute called xylitol, which is also dangerous for dogs, even causing their blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels, leading to seizures and even liver damage.

Even candy can cause intestinal upset and blockage of the gastrointestinal tract. If you think your pet has ingested something toxic, you are encouraged to call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately at 888-426-4435.

In addition to candies, some decorations and accessories can be dangerous for a pet. These include fake webs, batteries, toys, power cords, glow sticks, and costume items that can cause choking, internal injuries, or illness.

Once Halloween has passed, there are still other fall hazards to be aware of if you have pets, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

This includes items such as mothballs and rodenticides, which can be toxic to pets. Experts recommend using pet-friendly options or, when it comes to rodent proofing your home, call in a professional.

When preparing your car for the winter months, you can use antifreeze. You’ll want to know where your pet is because if they ingest even a small amount of antifreeze or any other chemical you use on your car, you need to get them to the vet immediately.

If you plan to walk your dog during hunting season and will be in an area where hunters may be present, wear bright orange or other bright colors so you can be seen.

Although it may be colder outside, veterinarians say fleas and ticks may remain active for a while. Your pet can also be exposed to leptospirosis, a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria found in moist soil or standing water. There is a vaccine that can protect your pet.

Some wild mushrooms and fall vegetables, such as onions and garlic, can be harmful to pets as well.

Ultimately, if you are concerned that your pet has encountered or ingested something harmful to it, or if you have any other questions about your pet’s safety, consult your veterinarian.


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