Pet Safety During Halloween

We love our furry friends, which is why it's important to keep them safe this season. Here's how

Photo by Think Stock

It’s true. Many gays love Halloween almost as much as they love their pets. And as we embark on this week’s fright fest, Philly-based Petplan says when pet parents aren’t careful, trips to the ER can be downright scary.

There’s a 284 percent increase in claims for candy-related pet health issues, says the company, during the week of Halloween. This year, a record number of 161 million Americans will be celebrating, buying almost 600 million pounds of candy – and that includes chocolate – the most poisonous candy for pets.

“Chocolate is one of the most dangerous household threats to pets,” says Dr. Jules Benson, vice president of veterinary services at Petplan. “Generally the darker the chocolate, the greater the hazard. Many pet parents don’t realize that as little as one ounce of chocolate can poison a medium-size dog, so make sure candy and treats are kept in secure containers, out of reach of furry friends.”

While Petplan says you can invest in health insurance for your pet (even if you don’t have any yourself), they also tell us about a list of dangers to watch out for as we get ready to celebrate the gayest holiday of the year:

•    Runaway Pets: If you’re expecting lots of ghosts and goblins at your door, make sure your pet isn’t tempted to go trick-or-treating with them. Consider setting up a room with water, food, toys and a comfy pet bed, where your pet can stay safe. If you worry that your pet could make a run for it, consider implanting a microchip. The tiny chip, implanted in the back of your dog’s neck, will make it easier to find him if he gets lost.

Photo by Think Stock

•    Pet Costumes: According to the National Retail Federation, 14.7 percent of pet parents will dress up Fido or Fluffy for the holiday. If you’re one of these people (you know who you are), be sure your pet’s vision is clear, their movement is unencumbered and that the costume is free of frills that can easily be chewed off or swallowed. Our furry friends can also warm up quickly, so make sure she doesn’t get too overheated and dehydrated in a bulky costume.

•    Candy Wrappers: Even if you’re careful to keep candy out of reach of your pet’s prying paws, beware of their wrappers, which can prove horrifyingly hazardous. They can lead to intestinal obstruction, which often requires surgery.

•    Raisins: Some pet parents prefer to skip candy altogether, opting to hand out mini-boxes of raisins to trick-or-treaters instead. While healthier for children, raisins are extremely poisonous to pets – especially dogs. Even in small doses, raisin consumption can cause kidney failure in four-legged family members, so treat these treats the same as you would sugary sweets.