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Halloween Spooky For Pets

On The Early Show, resident veterinarian Debbye Turner offered these Halloween safety tips:

DON'T LEAVE YOU PET OUTSIDE UNATTENDED. Unfortunately, there are people who play mean, life-threatening tricks on animals during Halloween, especially with black cats. Veterinary emergency clinics dread Oct. 31 because many pets show up with burns, cuts and other injuries inflicted by mean-spirited pranksters.

DON'T FEED YOUR PET ANY CANDY. Too much sugar gives anyone a stomachache, including the family pooch. While he might beg for a little taste of the Halloween candy, don't give in. At best, you may have to deal with cleaning up a stinky mess (diarrhea). At worst, your dog may suffer theobromine poisoning from eating chocolate. A very small amount of dark chocolate could actually kill you pet. Plus, tin foil and candy wrappers can be hazardous to your pet if swallowed. They can create an obstruction in the intestines that would require surgery to fix.

DON'T DRESS YOUR PET IN A COSTUME. Although humans think it's very cute for Fido to dress up like Spiderman, chances are Fido doesn't agree. All too often, these costumes are uncomfortable, cumbersome, and constricting. They may impede your pet's ability to walk normally, see fully or even breath. Resist this urge! Also, an uncomfortable pet may bite out of fear or frustration, even if he is the most loving animal under normal circumstances.

PUT YOUR PET IN A SAFE, QUIET ROOM. While dogs are social, a steady stream of strangers coming to the door on Halloween night can be traumatic for yours. So, to prevent anxiety, it's best to put your dog or cat in a safe, quiet, familiar room while trick-or-treaters are coming over. This prevents the risk of your pet escaping, scaring the visitors by barking, or maybe even biting out of fear. All those costumes could be very upsetting to your pet. If your dog just loves meeting new strangers and you want him to greet the visitors with you, be sure to have him on a leash so he can't escape. Also, even though he is friendly, some kids might be afraid of dogs and become very frightened of a dog that is not restrained.

BEWARE OF FIRE.Pumpkins with candles inside can pose a burn risk to curious animals. Or if your pet accidentally tips over the jack-o-lantern, your home is at risk of catching fire.

CHOCOLATE POISONING. If your dog gets chocolate poisoning, he may display any or all of these symptoms:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive urination
  • Pupil dilation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle tremors and seizures
  • Coma

    Get him to a veterinarian right away. It only takes only one-half an ounce of dark chocolate (like baker's chocolate) per pound of body weight to be toxic to a dog. If you suspect your pet has eaten anything harmful, call or veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately.

    The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the premier animal-oriented poison control center in North America. So it's the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Make the call that can make all the difference: (888) 426-4435. A $50 consultation fee may be applied, so you must have a credit card handy when you make the call.