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Halloween can be harmful for pets
pets and halloween.jpg
Leave it! The command is good for dogs to know during the Halloween season when candy is abundant and amazingly bad for them and their feline friends. Pictured is Friday, a 1-year-old female lab/ Pyrenees mix up for adoption at Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

Pets and Halloween aren’t always a good combination. 

Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center is urging pet owners to consider the scary side of Halloween and protect their pets from those aspects. 

“Of all candy, chocolate is the most toxic to pets,” said Animal Control director Linda Mihatov. “Dogs and cats can be inherently attracted to the smell and taste of chocolate, which makes it very dangerous to leave lying around. It needs to be kept well out of their reach.”

The chemicals in chocolate that are dangerous to pets, methylxanthines, are similar to caffeine and more heavily concentrated in the darker varieties. Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures. Call a veterinarian immediately.

Healthy snacks, which some choose to distribute, can also be poisonous to dogs and cats. Raisins are extremely poisonous to dogs. A very small amount can cause kidney failure in dogs and, potentially, cats. Symptoms include vomiting, nausea, decreased appetite, lethargy, abdominal pain, and severe kidney failure. Call a veterinarian immediately.

Also on the no-no list for animals are glow sticks, candy wrappers, Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn, candles, and lit pumpkins. 

All pets, but especially black ones, should be protected from pranksters. 

“I don’t know if there’s much a problem with this in Warren County, but I do recommend that people keep their pets in the house around Halloween and safe from pranksters,” said Mihatov. “Black cats are especially at risk. Make sure to keep them safely indoors over the Halloween holiday.” 

Many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution. 

Homes that partake in the annual tradition of handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, should keep their pets inside and confined away from the door.

“Opening and closing of the door can provide your pet with an opportunity to dart out,” said Mihatov.  “Then, instead of enjoying your evening, you’re out searching for them. Lost or found pets should be reported to Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center immediately. Don’t wait. Collars and tag are always a good idea, but microchips are better. A collar can come off, but a microchip is permanent.”

Pets can look cute in costumes. As with children, the outfit shouldn’t impair movement, hearing, eyesight, or the ability to breathe. Don’t force a pet to wear a costume. They might not enjoy it as much as their owners. 

During this Halloween season, help keep pets safe. Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center can be reached at 507-3647.