30 September 2010

Recommendations to keep your pet safe this Halloween

Halloween can be a scary time for our companion animals. Besides the crazy costumes, loud noises, scary monsters kids running amok, there are some really frightening things out there! To insure a fiendishly good time for all, follow these smart tips from the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®):

  • No Sweets for Your Sweetie. Several popular Halloween treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. “Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs,” advises Ms. Bough. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, heart rhythm abnormalities, and even seizures
  • Watch out for those wrappers. Cats love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting.
  • Careful with costumes! If you dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. Also check the costume for choking hazards. A smart alternative to dressing your pet from head-to-paw? A simple, festive Halloween bandana.
  • Decorations can be dangerous. Re-think putting candles in Jack-O-Lanterns. Pets can easily knock these over and start a fire, and curious kittens are particularly at risk of getting burned by candle flames. Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.
  • Trick-or-treating is for kids, not pets. During trick-or-treating hours it is best to keep pets in a room away from your front door. “Be sure that your pet has identification tags should he or she accidentally get loose,” recommends Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Onyx and Breezy Shefts Adoption Center. “Halloween brings a flurry of activity with visitors constantly arriving at the door, and pets may escape the safety of their home.” Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with tags and/or is microchipped.

If your dog or cat accidentally ingests any potentially harmful products and you need emergency advice, please consult your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (a fee applies) or www.aspca.org/apcc.

Being responsible with your fur-kids doesn’t mean they don’t get to have fun this Halloween! Check out this recipe from A Vegan Dog’s Life for treats for your four-legged Fido friends.

Cheezy Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup wheat germ or additional flour
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax
  • 1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses or agave nectar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, flax, hemp seeds and baking soda. Add pumpkin, water and molasses or agave nectar, mixing well. Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge.

Makes approximately thirty mini muffins.


Biscuits- Reduce water by ½ cup and eliminate baking soda. Knead into a stiff dough, adding ¼ cup of flour at a time until it can be rolled out without sticking to the rolling pin (add a bit of water if it gets too dry). Roll out onto a floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters or knife and bake on a greased cookie sheet until crispy.

Cookies- Add ¼ cup of flour at a time until dough is firm enough to form into balls. Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet and press flat with your hand or a fork. Bake until crispy.

Bagels- Make the same as the cookies except do not press them flat. Dip your finger in water and poke a hole in the middle of the dough ball. Flatten slightly to form a bagel shape. Bake until crispy.

Halloween doesn’t need to to be terrifying for your pets, with a little precaution and a little love (and a few treats!) everyone can enjoy this spooky time of year. Happy haunting!

Amanda Rock | @slc_veg
Amanda has a passion for delicious, sustainable food. Spending most of her life as a vegetarian sparked her interest in the environmental impact of food. Visit Amanda's SLC blog and vegan dog blog.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/jettyboy