INDIANAPOLIS — While kids love Halloween, it can be an extra scary and confusing time for pets.
Dr. Rachael Campbell, Medical Director at Pet Wellness Clinics in central Indiana, recommends keeping pets inside or in a separate room during trick-or-treating. However, you may also find sitting your pet outside avoids their constant response to the doorbell and knocks at the door.
Veterinarians also say while they look cute in their costumes, the extra clothing might be stressful and pet owners should never leave their animals unsupervised.
If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off and doesn't interfere with the pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth or moving. If your pet appears uncomfortable, take off the costume. Signs of discomfort include folded-down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail or hunching over.
Halloween candy is one of the biggest concerns during a busy night. Chocolate and sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can cause serious problems and require an emergency vet visit.
"Keep the packaging," said Dr. Campbell. "It's one thing if you're (telling your vet), 'he ate some Hershey Kisses or some Reese's.' But if it was like some type of a cake or some type of product, it's good to have those ingredients. Keep the packaging, like don't throw that stuff away because it's important information."
Children may make the harmful mistake of sharing their loot. Make sure they know the difference between a treat for them and a treat for their four-legged friends.
Keep lit candles, jack-o-lanterns and other decorations out of reach of pets. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by open flames.
Glow sticks and glow jewelry, though their liquid isn't likely toxic, tastes really bad and can make pets salivate excessively and act strangely and cause intestinal blockage.
Pumpkin can be good for dogs and cats, but too much can cause digestive issues. Keep jack-o-lanterns safely away from becoming a holiday snack.
If your pet is really anxious, Dr. Campbell said owners can talk to their vet for a medication to help calm them down.
Make sure your pet has a microchip or tag in case they escape during all the activity and distractions at the door.