2011-10-28 / Columnists

Paws For A Moment

Halloween And Our Pets
Commentary by Karina B. Salvo, MS, DVM

Trick or Treat!? Soon the ghosts, goblins, witches, princesses, mini-Supermen and micro-sized Wonder women will be scampering all over the Rockaways! The preparations have already begun with some lawns and homes turned into the scariest of places for the little ones to venture. Candy of all sorts is overflowing our homes ... waiting for that scary night to arrive!

Have you thought about what you’re going to do with your furry friends? There are many things to think about during this exciting time! Preparations, such as ornaments, pose an interesting and new addition to everyday life for our pets. Anything new in our homes is usually investigated by our family pets. Some ornaments sparkle, light up, make noise when touched or even move ... many are electric/and or have metal parts! Keeping our pets away from these decorations is important as they pose various hazards including electric shock, choking/strangulation hazards, and gastrointestinal blockage.

The next concern is the candy in waiting, usually left unattended by the front door ... or the candy that has been collected by all the roaming mini monsters and fairies! As most of you know, chocolate poses a HUGE threat to our beloved pets. Chocolate can cause various clinical concerns, from agitation to elevated heart rate that can lead to life threatening heart rhythms as well as seizures and death. Other concerns are candies that have sugar substitutes, usually describing them as sugar free, many of these can be dangerous to the pet’s liver and blood sugar levels. Just as concerning as the candies potentially ingested are the wrappers, containers they are in, as well as the ‘sticks,’ such as the lollipop sticks! These items can be a concern for choking hazards, esophagus, stomach and intestinal injury or puncture, as well as intestinal blockage that may require surgery.

Your porch light is on and the door bell rings ... and rings ... and rings! Most dogs race to the door to greet whomever is there when they hear the exciting doorbell! Be careful! An open door is the perfect getaway! Many of our pets respond differently to visitors at the door (especially those dressed in ‘not so everyday clothing’); some are not bothered, but others may have high anxiety and exhibit fearful behaviour ... be aware of where your pets are and keep them in a safe place while the ‘trick or treaters’ are out prowling our streets.

Taking precautions to avoid a trip to the Animal ER is the best preventative measure ... but accidents happen and it is best to be prepared for them. If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested ANY type of candy (or any other substance, medication, cleaner, etc., etc.) please do not hesitate to call ASPCAAnimal Poison Control at 1-888- 426-4435.

If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to call me at any time at 718-945-2358. You can also find me on facebook at Veterinary House-Calls or email me at



Have you heard? There is a new FULL service Animal Medical Centre opening in the Rockaways! Watch for updates on Facebook!


Have a Scary & Safe Halloween!

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