Halloween brings many fun items, and activities for us humans. But it can present many dangers for our pets, and the wildlife that live outside. We all know of those treat filled buckets or bags of goodies and the dangers they present to the animals we share our homes with. But what about the dangers of the aftermath of our halloween celebrations outside? As a dog walker I have had many a walk where we are avoiding bushes, ditches, taller grass, and even sidewalks due to paraphernalia left over from holiday celebrations, especially Halloween.
Halloween dangers to pets can be the aforementioned candy and their wrappers discarded along our walking paths. These candies and wrappers are sometimes accidentally dropped while out trick-or-treating, or blown from our garbage bins on trash day. Chocolate and xylitol are 2 of the main ingredients in candies that pose a danger to our pets. Candy left out to endure the elements can also become rancid. Our pets digestive tracts can be poisoned by the ingredients, or the food. The wrappers discarded after consumption now pose a choking hazard, and foreign body hazard as well. Wether it is the smell or the shininess that attracts animals to the wrappers, sometimes their curiosities and senses of smell get the better of them, and they make poor choices to consume these items.
Speaking of shiny objects, another Halloween danger to pets is the remnants of costumes and decorations. Most of our dogs will probably steer clear of these items, unless of course they smell yummy. The concern with these items are for wildlife, or cats. We all know pet owners who let their kitties out for a few hours to explore, or have seen the feral kitties around. Cats like things that move, and catch their attention. Many costumes have shiny aspects to them so that they reflect the lights of decorations and cars. If ingested these items can become obstructions to the digestive systems. The fake cob webs are potential hazards as well since they stick to everything! Beyond the potential to entrap wildlife, think lizard friends, the cob webs can get stuck to food items and be ingested.
Entrapment can also happen when wildlife or our pets encounter drink containers that have been left over from a party, or fallen from the trash. These containers pose a Halloween danger to pets by luring them in with the sweet smell. Then the pets become injured on the sharp edges or stuck in the small openings.
Another smell that could lure in pets is the aging of the pumpkins, and gourds used for decorations. As the weather shifts from warm to cold, and dry to wet we see the growth of mold, and the decay of food left outside. If these pumpkins are not discared correctly then animals can find them, eat them, and become sick. Pumpkins when properly maintained can be a great source of nutrition for animals, but when they go bad, so do the results if eaten.
Finally, glow sticks come to mind as another type of halloween danger to pets. Alone they don’t pose much of a threat, as they are not enticing to animals. But when combined with children and the sweets they enjoy during the holiday, the glow sticks can take on the smell of those sweets, and be more appealing to the animals. Even if the animal does not ingest the chemicals inside, once they chew on the packaging and break the outer seal they will easily encounter those chemicals which can lead to chemical burns.
It is best when out on walks after Halloween to be mindful of the Halloween dangers to pets, and keep a close eye on what your pets noses are leading them to. Better yet, carry a small bag with you and help the environment out by picking up the discarded items. If the worst does happen, be prepared by taking our Pet First Aid and CPCR Class. Here is a Link to the Pet Safety Crusaders website with additional Halloween information. Be safe out there, so Halloween does not have to be scary for your pets.