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Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets
October 30, 2007, Volume 54, No. 10

Halloween can be potentially dangerous for our four-legged friends. The veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine offer the following safety tips:

• All but the most outgoing dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat hours. Loud strangers in unusual costumes can be scary and stressful for pets.

• When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, make sure your cat or dog doesn’t dart out. All your pets should be wearing current identification, just in case.

• Keep all Halloween candy out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate can be toxic to animals—even in small amounts—and foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous or deadly if swallowed.

• Do not place lit pumpkins or candles where your animals can reach them. Pets can knock them over, running the risk of getting burned.

• Do not leave your pet in the yard on Halloween night or on the night before Halloween (sometimes called “Mischief Night”). Occasionally, vicious pranksters tease, harm, steal and even kill pets on this night.

• It is especially important to keep your cat inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be a target of pranks or other cruel acts.

• Don’t dress your dogs or cats in costumes unless you know they enjoy it. If you decide to do so, make sure the costume isn’t dangerous and doesn’t restrict the animal’s movement, sight, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that could be chewed off and cause choking. Make sure an adult supervises pets in costume at all times.

Follow these safety guidelines to have a wonderful Halloween with your pets!

—Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital

Almanac - October 30, 2007, Volume 54, No. 10