Decorations, candy, moldy pumpkins: How to keep your pets safe during Halloween

By KYW Newsradio 1060

Halloween could be a scary time of year for your pets.

Candy, costumes and even old pumpkins could be harmful if ingested, and unfortunately, choking and poisoning hazards are all around this time of year.

Chocolate could be toxic for dogs and if they are not close to a veterinarian, you may need to take action at home.

“If you are more than 20 or 30 minutes away from the vet, your dog will already start to absorb the chocolate,” said Dr. Mark Magazu, a veterinarian with Saint Francis Veterinary Center of South Jersey.

He said make your dog vomit if you're not close to a vet by giving them hydrogen peroxide.

“And the way you do that is, the average is, you give them about a teaspoon for every 5 pounds,” said Magazu.

Then take them to the doctor’s office.

“You are avoiding those toxins and not allowing them to be absorbed by your pet on the way to the veterinarian,” he explained.

Chocolate being eaten by dogs is a big problem seen in animal emergency rooms this time of year, as they can cause seizures, increased heart rates, and increased blood pressure.

Dr. Ken Drobatz, professor of emergency medicine at Penn Vet, said candy, like gum, with artificial sweetener xylitol is dangerous, too.

“Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia or it can result in seizures or alter mentation or it could even cause liver damage,” Drobatz explained.

And beware of old pumpkins, he said, as they could get mold on them, which can be toxic in dogs — not to mention the fire hazard with lighted candles inside jack-o’-lanterns.

Drobatz said make sure costumes or decorations are cat- and dog-friendly to avoid any choking or severe intestinal damage. And don’t force a pet to wear a costume.

“If they are unhappy with it, what’s the point?” said Drobatz.

And if you think your pet ingested something harmful, contact a veterinarian or animal poison control center. A fee may apply.

“It’s well worth it,” said Magazu. “Poison control is always a good option.”

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