Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Halloween Pet Safety by Kristel Weaver, DVM

These days our pets are considered our children.  On Halloween, nothing is cuter than a dachshund in a hotdog costume or a bulldog pirate.  I love dressing up my dogs on Halloween and get quite a laugh when they parade around as a superhero, princess, or clown.  This time of year you can find a rack of pet costumes in almost every pet store.  As an alternative, many people make their own creative pet costumes.  It is fun to include our dogs and cats in this playful holiday.

To keep Halloween a fun event, remember the potential risks.  

If your dogs bark and lunge when the doorbell rings, close them in another room with a food dispensing toy, put up a baby gate, or keep them on leash.  A fearful dog will be terrified of all the noise and costumes and might do better in another room with the television on, to drown out some of the noise.

Keep in mind that chocolate, raisins, and xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) are toxic to dogs.  Not only is it important to keep the candy out of their reach on Halloween but also in the weeks that follow when kids have candy stashed in their bedrooms, backpacks, and secret hiding places.

Many dogs and cats escape from their homes unnoticed on Halloween.  Make sure they are wearing an identification tag or are microchipped.  Sadly, dogs and cats can be the butt of cruel jokes on Halloween.  Black cats are notoriously targeted.  Keep your dogs and cats inside to avoid any problems.

I hope you and your four-legged friends have a fun Halloween.  Most dogs I know are more than happy to perform a trick to get a treat!

Dr. Kristel Weaver is a graduate of the Veterinary School at the University of California, Davis where she received both a DVM and a Master’s of Preventative Veterinary Medicine (MPVM).  She has been at Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care in San Ramon since 2007. She currently lives in Oakland with her husband and their daughter, Hayley. If you have questions you would like Dr. Weaver to answer for future articles, please email info@webvets.com

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