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Halloween and Fall Safety

Pet-proofing Your Home and Holiday Safety for Pets


The outdoor days of summer are winding down. The shorter, colder days of fall are here and the focus turns indoors.

Is your home pet-proofed? Halloween is the first holiday of the winter holiday season, and with that brings additional holiday hazards. Here are some tips and ideas for keeping your pets safe through the fall and winter holidays and seasons.

1. Halloween Safety

Halloween Dog - Dogwitch by daveynin on Flickr
by daveynin on Flickr
Chocolate is often cited as a main Halloween pet safety concern, but there are much more scary things to consider. Possible Halloween hazards: pets ingesting their costumes, catching on fire from a lit candle, or suffering potentially fatal liver failure from eating a pack of gum, to name a few.

2. Halloween Ideas & Tips from About.com

Photo © James Baigrie/Getty
Photo © James Baigrie/Getty
Halloween help from around About.com. Get decorating, food, and holiday safety tips on a variety of topics from About.com Guides.

3. Should Pets Wear Costumes and Clothes?

Not Actually A Poodle by istolethetv on Flickr
by istolethetv on Flickr
Sometimes clothes for pets are an accessory, sometimes a necessity. Either way, it is important to consider safety concerns when pets wear clothes.

4. Does Your Pet Have a Halloween Costume?

Football Dog on Flickr
Beau B on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/beaub/

Pet costumes used to be the exception. Now though, cute, funny, scary costumes are becoming the norm for pets of all shapes and sizes.

Does your pet have a costume? Please share your stories and photos here.

5. Pet Safety Gear - Reflective Collars And Coats

Sophie wearing her reflective collar by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
The days are getting shorter and darkness falls quickly. Sometimes darkness catches me on the evening dog walk. I rarely remember a flashlight, but my dogs' reflective collars and leashes provide some visibility (along with my reflective vest). Stay visible - stay safe.

6. Potpourri and Pets Don't Mix

Dewey the cat and a candle - image credit: angela n. on Flickr
© angela n. on Flickr
While popular all year round, many people light candles and use potpourri as part of seasonal decor during the fall and winter months. Using candles and liquid potpourri require special precautions with pets. Be aware of potential dangers.

7. Chocolate Toxicity

Chocolate - Siona Watson/Flickr
Siona Watson/Flickr
Chocolate is probably one of the "best known" foods that are toxic to pets. The toxicity of chocolate varies. The level of toxicity depends on the type of chocolate, how much your pet ate, and how much your pet weighs.

White chocolate poses little toxicity risk (but may cause pancreatitis), dark chocolate is considerably more toxic. All chocolate should be kept out of pets' reach.

8. Xylitol - Sugar Substitute

Sugar Dog Loves Me by D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr
by D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol - an artificial sweetener created from birch, raspberries, plums and corn. It is found in many products, including gum, baked goods, and toothpaste.

Dogs that eat even a few sticks of gum (amount of xylitol varies significantly between brands) may be at risk of dangerously low blood sugar levels and liver failure.

9. Rasin Toxicity Case Report

by babbagecabbage on Flickr
by babbagecabbage on Flickr

Grapes and raisins may be toxic to some dogs. At this time the toxic element remains to be identified, and not all dogs appear to be sensitive. But for those dogs that are, eating grapes or raisins may be fatal.

Here is a case report of "Annie," a 30 kg (66 pound), three-year-old, female Black Labrador Retriever ingested 12 oz of raisins from a holiday gift box.

10. Toxic Foods: Yeast Bread Dough

Rising Dough by ella novak on Flickr
by ella novak on Flickr

The colder days encourage bread and cinnamon roll baking in many households. Caution is advised however, as yeast bread dough poses a hazard to pets who decide to sample it.

Dough left out to rise poses a two-fold risk: 1) the dough may rise after ingestion, causing intestinal obstruction, 2) the yeast can ferment sugars, creating a secondary problem of ethanol (alcohol) poisoning in the animal.

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