For a lot of people Halloween can be a fun and spooky time of year, but for pets it can be an absolute nightmare! We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic would like to recommend some precautions this Halloween with the following ten pet safety tips.
- No tricks or treats!
Halloween candy can be very enticing for pets, but can be severely toxic if ingested. Chocolate contains a compound called Theobromine as well as caffeine, which are both very toxic to pets. Chocolate toxicity can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, tremors, rapid breathing, and increased heart rate. The dark or baking chocolates are the worst kinds of chocolate, as they contain higher amount of these chemical compounds. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in candy that can be very toxic, even in small amounts. Xylitol can cause a sudden decrease in blood sugar, which can lead to staggering and seizures in pets.
- Keep Halloween pumpkins and decorative corn out of reach
Halloween and fall decorations are relatively non-toxic, but might seem like a tasty snack to pets. If ingested in large quantities these decorations can cause stomach upset or intestinal blockage.
- Keep lit candles in pumpkins away from pets
Pumpkins are very festive, but curious pets can burn themselves on lit candles or knock them over causing a fire.
- Keep decorations with wires or cords away from pets
Wires and electrical cords from Halloween lights or decorations can cause cuts, burns, or even life threatening electrical shock if chewed on by curious pets.
- Have a dress rehearsal before the big night
Try on pet costumes before Halloween to see how they react to wearing clothing and to make sure it fits comfortably. Some pets dislike costumes and for those, festive bandanas usually work well. Be sure that the costume does not restrict your pet’s movement, hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark, or meow.
- Keep nervous pets in a quiet room
Some pets become very nervous with the constant ringing of the doorbell and excited chatter from trick-or-treaters outside. For these pets it is best to keep them inside a quiet room in the house to rest until the festivities are over.
- Make sure pets have proper identification
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, it is easy for pets to escape and become lost. Be sure your pet is wearing a collar and tags and/or a microchip (with updated information!) so if they should escape they have a better chance of being returned to you.
- Do not leave pets outside, especially black cats
Halloween pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, or otherwise harm pets. While this act is inexcusable, it is very preventable by the owners. Black cats are especially at risk for cruelty-related incidents. Many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
- Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from pets
Although the product inside of glow sticks or jewelry is not likely toxic, it tastes terrible and can cause excessive salivation and odd behavior. Stomach upset can occur if they are ingested by pets, especially in large amounts.
- Familiar people can be frightening
Costumes and masks change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people can become frightening. Even if you are just having a few friends over for a Halloween party, keep your pets away from the festivities in their safe room.
By Dr. Ashley Dawes
We at Dupont Veterinary Clinic want to make sure that owners are well educated so that they and their pets can live long, happy, and healthy lives together. Here is a list of the most common veterinary myths associated with pet health care.
- A cold, wet, dry, or warm nose indicates something about the pet’s health.
While there may be a few circumstances where a pet’s nose may be able to offer us useful information, most of the time they do not. Veterinarians do not rely on this information at all when taking your pet’s history or performing a physical exam.
- A pet that eats grass outside is sick to his stomach.
While some dogs that have an upset stomach may feel an urge to eat or chew on unusual objects, a dog that eats grass is not always ill. Some dogs simply like to play with grass and chew on it for fun!
- Eating ice cubes or snow kills dogs.
Dogs do not bloat from eating ice cubes, snow, or drinking ice water. In fact, giving them ice water or ice cubes can help cool them down on a hot day. Bloat is most commonly seen in deep-chested, large breed dogs and can be caused by genetics and/or food and gas build up in the stomach. Freezing toys or treats for dogs, especially puppies, to chew on can help to keep them occupied while you are away.
- A dog that scoots his hind end on the ground has worms.
Scooting is usually caused by an impacted or infected anal gland or localized skin infection. Pets can, on occasion, scoot on the ground if they have tapeworms because the segments that they shed on their hind end can be itchy or irritating.
- If my dog is inside a fenced-in yard, or mostly indoors, they cannot be exposed to mosquitoes and contract heartworm disease.
Mosquitoes can get inside fenced-in yards and can even get inside your house; therefore, even mostly indoor dogs need to be on heartworm prevention too. The same goes for fleas and flea prevention as they can hitch a ride on your clothes or shoes and be introduced into your house.
- Grain free or gluten free diets will fix my pet’s allergies.
While there are some dogs that may be diagnosed with a grain allergy, gluten allergies in dogs are exceedingly rare. Dogs can have food allergies or environmental allergies that cause them to have red, irritated, and itchy skin. If you think your pet is experiencing an allergy contact your veterinarian at Dupont Veterinary Clinic to have them examined.
- My dog eats his own feces so he must have a nutritional deficiency.
This statement is simply not true as some dogs find this smelly snack to be a delicacy!
- Dipping your pet in motor oil can cure mange.
There are dips that can be given to bathe pets in to cure mange but motor oil is not one of them. In fact, motor oil can be really harsh on a pet’s skin and coat. If you think your pet has mange, please speak with your veterinarian about the best treatment for them.
- Pets need to lick their wounds in order for them to heal.
Licking a wound is great to clean off debris from a fresh injury, but continuous licking worsens inflammation and infection. This is why E-collars are used. It is especially important to keep pets away from a surgical incision as they can reopen the site and cause a serious infection.
- Sibling pets do not need to be spayed or neutered because they will not mate.
Animals do not have any taboos against this and will mate if given the opportunity.
If you have questions about your pet’s health, give us a call at (260) 637-7676. We are here because we want to help keep your pet healthy and foster the bond your family has with your pet.
By: Dr. Ashley Dawes
Ruby is a 7-year-old black Labrador Retriever that has been trained from an early age to assist her owner that is visually impaired. She was trained to be a guide dog in a program based out of Michigan called Leader Dogs for the Blind. This program not only trains guide dogs but also matches clients with a dog that best fits their lifestyle, travel pace, physical size, stamina, and other considerations. Ruby passed guide dog training with flying colors and has been helping her owner on a day to day basis ever since.
During the first year of training, guide dogs grow up in homes with volunteers of the organization where they are taught basic obedience and are exposed to the world. Guide dogs are then coached through four months of formal harness training with a professional guide dog mobility instructor. It is during these four months that they learn guide dog skills, such as stopping at curbs, avoiding obstacles, and finding doors. For example, Ruby was trained to stop at a street curb and wait for her handler to give the command to go forward. Ruby looks for approaching traffic and decides whether or not it is truly safe to cross the street. In this and numerous other ways guide dogs are able to assist their handlers throughout their day.
Ruby is in semi-retirement according to her handler; however, she still stays by her side each and every day. Ruby goes to work with her owner at an organization that was designed to help individuals with disabilities and mental illness so that they may live as independently as possible. Ruby may be at work but she is well known throughout the office and is quick to greet everyone each morning or even console workers if they are having a tough day. Ruby is a happy-go-lucky girl that is eager to please and ready for any task at hand.
At Dupont Veterinary Clinic we value the human-animal bond that enriches so many lives every day. We are proud of Ruby and guide dogs like her for the wonderful service that they provide for their handlers and we hope you feel the same!