NEWS | Oct. 25, 2020

Halloween pet safety in Hawaii

By Dr. (Capt.) Hillary Sullivan Public Health Command-Pacific

Halloween is right around the corner, and while it may be the spookiest night of the year for people, always remember to keep your four-legged friends safe.
 
Here are some considerations from the Schofield Barracks Veterinary Treatment Facility to keep your pets safe this scary season!
 
Candy
Tasty treats are for trick-or-treaters, not our pets. Ensure your pet does not get into any candy; when approaching a house, keep your pet close. Many popular candies are toxic to our pets, most notably chocolate, macadamia nuts, or xylitol, a sugar substitute found in many treats.
 
It’s also important to watch your kids. Children can make the harmful mistake of sharing candy with pets. Make sure children know the difference between a treat for them and a treat for their four-legged friends.
 
Decorations
While decorations such as pumpkins and corn are not considered toxic to animals, they can still cause an upset stomach. Common decorations, like jack-o-lanterns with burning flames and fake spider webs, are hazards to our pets. It is best to keep your pets indoors while the family is out gathering sweet treats.
 
Costumes
While it may look cute, wearing a costume may cause unnecessary stress for some pets. We recommend you don’t put a costume on your dog or cat unless you know he or she feels comfortable in it. Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night; if he or she shows discomfort, consider forgoing dress-up.
 
Stress
Halloween brings a flurry of activity, and dogs can get easily excited by the commotion. New strangers and festive costumes can be frightening to pets; it is best to keep them in a separate room if you’re hosting friends and family. If your dog or cat tends to dart towards the door, consider putting them in a separate room or crate during trick-or-treating hours.
 
If your pet has ingested something and you are unsure if the substance is toxic, please call your veterinarian or the 24-hour American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately.
 
As always, Public Health Activity-Hawaii Veterinary Treatment Facilities are here to serve the military community. For questions or concerns, please contact one of our four clinics on Oahu.
 
  • Schofield Barracks Veterinary Treatment Facility: 808-655-5889
  • Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Veterinary Treatment Facility: 808-449-6481
  • Fort Shafter Veterinary Treatment Facility: 808-438-5231 or 808-438-5233
  • Marine Corps Base Hawaii Veterinary Treatment Facility: 808-257-3643