GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dr. Kelley Gebhardt from Happy Tails Veterinary Emergency Clinic discussed easy ways you can protect your pet this Halloween. Here are a few of her top tips:

Glow sticks and glow jewelry:

  • Liquid inside can cause oral irritation.
  • Dogs and cats can develop drooling or foaming at the mouth and may act agitated due to the bitter taste.

Raisins:

  • Snack packs of raisins and chocolate-covered raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs, and possibly cats.

Xylitol (many sugar-free gums, mints, and candies contain xylitol as a sweetener):

  • Causes low blood sugar and even liver failure in dogs.
  • The amount of xylitol in products can vary greatly depending on the brand and flavor, so check labels closely.

Chocolate:

  • The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is due to its higher methylxanthine content.
  • Methylxanthines are chemicals related to caffeine and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increase heart rate and other problems.

Costumes:

  • Ingesting part of a costume can cause obstructions in intestines.
  • Be on alert if a costume contains metallic beads or other small pieces: if ingested, some metals (especially zinc and lead) can result in serious poisoning.
  • Do not dye or apply coloring intended for humans onto your pet’s fur. Even if the dye is labeled non-toxic to people, it could still be harmful to pets.

Candles:

  • Keep candles out of your pet’s reach to prevent accidental burns.
  • Use flameless candles.

Other Safety Tips:

  • Give your pet a quiet place, such as a kennel or a room to themselves, away from the front door. Strangers dressed up in costumes can be scary and distressing for pets.
  • Don’t take your pet trick-or-treating. It is more fun for us than it is for them and they are at increased risk of running off and getting lost.
  • In case your pet runs out the door, make sure they are wearing a reflective collar, a current ID tag, and ensure they have an updated microchip.
  • If you choose to walk your dog, avoid retractable leashes. Using a sturdy non-retractable leash gives you better control in case your dog gets spooked or tries to bolt.
  • Make your dog visible! Add reflective tape to your their collar and leash, and/or attach a blinking light to their collar.