K-State veterinarian warns pet parents of dangers on Halloween

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) – A Kansas State University veterinarian warned pet parents of the dangers posed to pets on Halloween and offered tips and tricks to avoid an unexpected scare.

Kansas State University says that while Halloween is a day where some enjoy being scared, Susan Nelson, a clinical professor in the Veterinary Health Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine, has tips to help keep animals safe.

Nelson suggested that pets are left at home during the holidays and for a few days afterward as some may have cruel intentions.

“Cats, especially black cats, are often searched for with cruel intentions during Halloween,” Nelson said.

While trick-or-treaters are knocking on doors, Nelson advised pet owners to keep their pets in a back room with the television on to help block out the noise caused by doorbells and children.

“Be aware of open doors, as some animals may try to get out,” Nelson said. “Make sure the animals have some form of identification, such as microchips, collars or tags. Reflective collars will make it safer for pets to go out, as they will make them more visible.”

The teacher also suggested trying on pet costumes before Halloween to make sure the furry friends can see, hear, breathe and move.

“When shopping for Halloween costumes for pets, be careful of costumes that have loose or small pieces that could be torn off and ingested,” Nelson warned. “If your pet seems distressed or allergic or exhibits abnormal behavior with a costume, consider wearing a Halloween-themed bandana instead or nothing at all, even if it causes distress.”

For pets who have a love of treats or decorations, Nelson gave the following tips to help keep them safe:

  • Keep all treats out of reach to avoid accidental ingestion of ingredients that may be toxic to pets or injure/obstruct their GI tracts. Examples of toxins are chocolate, Xylitol – an artificial sweetener – raisins and some types of nuts.
  • Consider disconnecting your doorbell or saluting trick-or-treaters at the end of your route, if time permits, if the sound of the bell disturbs your pet.
  • Be careful that the animal can be scared by one of the family members when that person is disguised in a costume. Acclimate them to the sight beforehand.
  • Keep your pet away from electrical cords, candles and decorations to avoid accidental ingestion.
  • Throw away moldy pumpkins – they can cause illness if ingested.
  • Keep glow sticks out of reach; they taste bitter and can cause drooling and agitation if ingested.

If residents suspect their pet has ingested something toxic, Nelson said they should immediately call their veterinarian, the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or Poison Help for pets at 855-764-7661 for advice.

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