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Attention, companion animal caretakers! The ASPCA
would like to point out these common-sense cautions
that’ll help keep your pets safe and stress-free this
time of year. If you do suspect your pet has ingested
a potentially dangerous substance, please call your
veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control
Center at (888) 426-4435.
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy.
•Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats.
Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased
thirst, urination and heart rate—and even seizures.
•Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of
xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of
coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to
•Ingesting tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively
nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage
could even occur if large pieces are swallowed.
3. Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If
chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a
possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a
candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk
of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume
UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their
“birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not
constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also try
on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior,
consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily
chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects
or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door
during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet
escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances that he or
she will be returned to you
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