How pets can stay safe while having fun on Halloween

Local News

Halloween Dog (Credit: Humane Society of the South Platte Valley)

DENVER (KDVR) – Ghosts, monsters and xylitol (also known as birch sugar) can be scary for your pets during the Halloween season.

Safety tips for food, decorations, pet costumes and trick-or-treaters coming to your door will help keep your pet safe.

Candy and other food can be dangerous

Xylitol, a class of sweetener known as a sugar alcohol and sometimes called birch sugar, is present in many foods and can be toxic to dogs. Peanut butter, sugarless gum, breath mints, baked goods, cough syrup, toothpaste and sugar-free desserts, including “skinny” ice cream are a few places xylitol can be found. It’s important to check labels.

All types of chocolate, especially baking or dark chocolate, can make your dog and/or cat very sick and may be deadly. It takes just one ounce of milk chocolate for every pound of your dog’s weight to cause a poisonous reaction, according to the Humane Society.

Immediately contact a veterinarian, the Poison Control Center or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline: 888-426-4435 (the hotline may charge a consultation fee) if you suspect your pet has eaten something that’s bad for them.

Be cautious with pet costumes

Over 29 million dogs and cats will be wearing a costume for Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Wearing a costume can be stressful for some pets, blocking eyesight, breathing, hearing and movement. Pieces of costumes can be chewed off and swallowed.

Make sure the costume is comfortable and allows unrestricted movement. Some outfits may be okay for a quick photo and then taken off. Always supervise your pet and take off the costume if they show signs of stress, like folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail or hunching over.

Decorations can be scary or dangerous

A giant fake spider or ghost can be scary for your pet, make sure your pet is not stressed about the goblins around your home or on walks.

Candles in jack-o-lanterns (burn or fire risk), fake blood and glow sticks (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), rubber eyeballs (choking risk) and string lights should be monitored.

Scary visitors to your home

Pets can dart out the door after being frightened by lots of strangers in costumes or during a party. Create a safe place for them to destress: a safe, quiet room or a crate they are comfortable with, filled with safe toys and treats. Playing soft music can also help a pet relax.

Keep your pet ID up to date

Collars, tags and chips can help your pet get home safely if they get lost. Most animal shelters and veterinarian offices offer microchipping and can scan a found pet for a chip.

Denver Animal Protection offers low-cost microchipping and pet vaccines to Denver residents on Saturday and Sunday from 9-11 a.m. at the Denver Animal Shelter.

The Humane Society of the South Platte Valley offers microchips at 2129 W Chenango Ave., Unit A, Littleton, CO 80120, phone: 303-703-2938.

The Maxfund offers microchips in Denver.

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