Treats can be tricky: ASPCA offers Halloween safety tips for pet owners

The arrival of Halloween brings fun parties, trick-or-treaters and lots of candy. However, this holiday can be potentially hazardous to pets.
The ASPCA offers these helpful hints to help keep pets healthy and safe during Halloween:
Chocolate is not appropriate for pets. Dr. Stephen Hansen, board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), advises pet parents to watch for symptoms of exposure to chocolate that may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.
Candy can be dangerous. Hansen reminds pet owners, “It’s extremely important to ensure that Halloween treats are out of reach of your pet. Animals are very good at sniffing out the treats they shouldn’t have, so it’s up to us to make sure they stay healthy and happy.”
Candies and gum often contain large amounts of the sweetener xylitol, which can be toxic to pets, especially dogs. Ingestion can produce a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, incoordination and seizures.
Tag your pet. “Sometimes pets may stray from home,” adds Buchwald. “Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home. Be sure that your pet has identification tags should he or she accidentally get loose.”
Watch out for wrappers. Keep foil and cellophane candy wrappers away from pets. They can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.
Protect your decorations. Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn may cause stomach upset or result in intestinal blockage.
Take care with costumes. If you do decide to dress up your pet, check that the costume does not limit her movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe or bark—and remember to inspect the costume for any choking hazards.

About the ASPCA
Founded in 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was the first humane organization established in the Americas, and today has one million supporters. The ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.
For information about services provided by the ASPCA, visit

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