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Keeping your pets safe this Halloween | 2 Wants to Know

Dr. Kelley Gebhardt shares top tips to keep your pet safe during Halloween.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Halloween is a fun time for costumes and celebrations. But it can also present some safety concerns for pets. We spoke with Dr. Kelley Gebhardt to get answers on how to keep your furry friends safe this Halloween.

Top toxins that pets swallow

Pets can swallow many things during Halloween season. Dr. Gerhardt broke down some of the top toxins she sees pets ingest each year.

  • Chocolate is the most common causing of poisoning for dogs. The darker the chocolate, the greater the risk. It also poses risks for cats, but they don't tend to eat it.
  • Eating large amounts of candy can lead to issues like gastroenteritis and pancreatitis. Symptoms don't always appear until two to four days after your pet eats the candy. Symptoms include appetite loss, vomiting and organ damage.
  • Swallowing a candy wrapper can be life-threatening and require surgery.
  • Grape and raisins are poisonous to dogs. Small amount of raisins can cause kidney failure in both dogs and cats.
  • Cats love to chew on glow sticks. The liquid inside the sticks can cause mouth pain and irritation. It can be life-threatening in some cases.
  • Sugar-free gum can be deadly to pets. Eight pieces of gum can kill a large dog while only one can kill a small dog or cat. Sugar-free gum includes xylitol, which is what is harmful to pets. It can cause liver failure and low blood sugar.

Other dangers for pets

Pets look cute dressed in costumes but make sure they are comfortable and safe. Costumes shouldn't impair vision, movement or air intake.

Costumes with metallic pieces like beads can result in serious poisoning if swallowed. Make sure your pet cannot chew off or swallow any parts of the costume.

Don't dye your pet's fur. It could cause harm. 

Avoid using real candles in jack-o-lanterns. Pets don't always realize something is hot until they get burned. They can also knock over the pumpkin and start a fire.

Safety tips

  • Create a safe space for your pet away from the opening door and trick-or-treaters.
  • If your pet gets irritated by the doorbell, set up a candy giveaway in the driveway, and keep the doorbell quiet for the night.
  • Use a thunder shirt for anxious dogs or cats.
  • Before Halloween festivities, talk to your vet about medications that may reduce your pet's anxiety
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar or body harness with updated dog tags with your contact information.
  • Consider having your vet insert a microchip into your pet. If your pet runs away, you want multiple ways to find them.