by Sindi Somers and SINDI SOMERS | San Diego Pets
11:11 PM, Thursday, October 13
Traditional Halloween festivities can be fun, but can also cause stress, trauma and illness to companion animals. Ingesting unsafe foods and other items can lead to a trip to the vet. Unfamiliar noises and frequent visits from friends and strangers, can also create anxiety for pets.

Halloween candy includes chocolate, which is harmful and potentially deadly to cats, dogs and other animals. The sugar alcohol sweetener xylitol found in some candies is another ingredient to keep away from pets. Healthier human treats, such as raisins and macadamia nuts are also toxic to dogs and cats. Along with snacks, ingesting foil, cellophane and other wrappers can cause internal obstructions.

Decorations can also be chewed and swallowed, as well as tangled and shattered when met with an inquisitive, playful pet. Lit jack o’lanterns are another danger. Safe, electric lighting can be used instead of candles.

Along with symbolic decorations, it wouldn’t be Halloween without costumes. However, animals may not enjoy this ritual as much as humans. If you dress your pet, be aware that some costumes can be uncomfortable, itchy and cause animals to overheat. Ensure that pets aren’t able to chew costume parts and that their vision, movement and breathing are not impaired. Some accessories contain irritants, including the liquid found in glow jewelry known as Dibutyl Phthalate. Although not characterized as poisonous, this substance can cause excessive drooling, nausea, vomiting and other reactions when ingested. It can also cause pain and irritation to the mouth and skin. Never add dye or color your pet’s fur, even when claiming to be non-toxic.

Our companion animals often view visitors wearing strange outfits and scary costumes as threatening intruders invading their territory. Costumed trick or treaters repeatedly coming to the door can be stressful and frightening for pets. Animals in fear are more prone to aggressive behavior. It is recommended to keep companion animals in a secure area of the home away from the front door on Halloween night. Not only can unrecognized guests put them on high alert, but there is added risk of pets escaping when the door is repetitively opened.

Unless actively supervised, it is always safest to keep companion animals indoors. As we approach Halloween it is even more important. Halloween pranks and the eerie aspect related to this holiday can bring on an increase in behaviors which can scare and harm animals.

Planning ahead and implementing safety measures can help prevent accidents and create a pet friendly Halloween.

In addition to writing for San Diego Pets, Sindi Somers offers energy healings and readings for people and pets. She is an animal communicator, nutrition and behavior consultant and trainer. Sindi also teaches meditation techniques to people. Contact Sindi at sindi@wildtame.com. Visit her online at www.wildtame.com.

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