It’s nearly that Spooktacular time of year, and while this is one of many people’s favorite time of year, for your pets it may not be!
By Alyssa Mages, BS, CVT,
Education and Development Coordinator, Metropolitan Veterinary Associates
If your pet has a known fear or nervous response to loud noises, unfamiliar people, the doorbell, and/or the potential for fireworks, please be mindful of this and try to apply some of these tips to prevent their anxiety from worsening. These interventions may also lessen the risk of your pet running away or a negative interaction with any Trick-or-Treaters.
It would be a good idea to keep your pet in a separate room well away from the front door. If they are comfortable in a particular space, keep them there with a favorite blanket or toy! Any positive distractions and familiar interactions are beneficial.
Talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications — there are some that do not require continued use to be effective, and there are those that may be more appropriate for your pet than others. Pheromone sprays/diffusers – non-toxic, synthetic cat/dog hormones – can also have a calming effect and are available at most pet supply retailers.
Most of us know that chocolate is NOT good for dogs, but truthfully ANY candy is NOT good for them – nor cats! It may sound far-fetched, but some kitties have a sweet tooth, my childhood cat LOVED to try and snag Twizzlers!
Keep any supplies of candy well out of reach, preferably in a location that your cat or dog cannot access whatsoever such as a pantry with a closed/locked door, a high-level drawer or cabinet. Then when Halloween arrives and you’re distributing the candy, ensure your pets do NOT have access to the bowl!
Follow up with your human family members to make sure that the candy they bring into your home is also kept out of your pets’ reach, and below are the reasons why this is so important, and why sweets are not so sweet for your furry kids.
Sugar-free candies are also a Halloween ‘treat’ to be aware of as the artificial sweeteners – Xylitol in particular – are extremely toxic to our furry family members. Should your pet get into any sugar-free gum or candies, call your veterinarian immediately and get your pet seen as soon as possible as Xylitol can cause a rapid decrease in blood sugar levels as well as other potentially life-threatening concerns.
Chocolate is the biggest culprit, and the darker the chocolate, the more intense the effect. It is also important to note that the smaller the animal, the less chocolate it takes to make them ill. For example, a 10-pound dog would only need to eat ~1/4c of semi-sweet chocolate chips, or 2 oz. of milk chocolate (a full-size Hershey’s bar) to require a trip to the vet. However, should you see or suspect that your dog has ingested ANY chocolate, call your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY for them to advise you on how to proceed, and if an ER trip is necessary.
The chemical in chocolate that makes pets so ill is theobromine – similar to caffeine – and dogs (and cats) cannot metabolize this as we humans can. In turn, theobromine can negatively impact their GI tract (vomiting/diarrhea), heart (rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, or arrhythmias), and in high doses their neurologic system (tremors, twitching, possible seizures).
If you don’t see your pet actually eat the chocolate, but you notice that they are having some tummy troubles, are drinking more than usual, are restless and/or panting, and when you pet them you can FEEL their heartbeat going a mile-a-minute get to the closest veterinarian, or to the emergency room!
Metropolitan Veterinary’s emergency service team are available every day of the year 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Please call us at 610-666-1050 if you are considering a trip to the ER. The veterinary team will discuss with you their recommendations over the phone prior to your arrival, and then walk you through the treatment options when you and your pet arrive. DO NOT GIVE YOUR PET ANYTHING AT HOME WITHOUT CONSULTING A VETERINARIAN!
Costumes are my favorite part of Halloween, but my cat sure doesn’t agree despite how cute I think she looks in tiny fairy wings 😉
While the idea sounds fun and the pictures would be wonderful, this is another potential source of stress for your pets. If your cat or dog has always enjoyed putting on ‘clothing’ and you don’t have to go through a WWE wrestling match to get them into an outfit, by all means, dress ‘em up! However, if there are any struggling, vocalizing, or attempts by your pet to tell you “NO THANK YOU!” with tooth or claw, please resist for your safety & that of your pets’!
The risk of escaping on Halloween night is fairly high given the opening and closing of doors, excitement, and flow of people, and it tends to be dark which does not aid in locating a dog or cat who has decided to bolt.
As was mentioned earlier it’s often best to keep your pets in a separate room with a closed door well away from the flurry of activity at the front of your home. This is to lower their overall excitement and stress levels, yes, but it’s also to keep them inside, with you, where they belong.
Please ensure that your pets have the appropriate licenses, collars, and/or microchip in place should they manage to pull a Harry Houdini and get out of the home. This way should one of your neighbors find them you can be happily reunited within a short amount of time.
Should you find yourself experiencing any of the above Halloween misadventures or happen to realize that you’re a tad overdue for your furry family member’s annual recheck please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 610-666-1050! MVA’s Emergency Team is here 24/7, and our specialty doctors & nurses are here throughout the week to support you and your pets in whatever ways we can & that you and your pets need.
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