Column: Have a safe and Happy Halloween with your pets |

Column: Have a safe and Happy Halloween with your pets

Niki Congero
Tribune Pet Columnist
My name is Roman. I am 2 years old and I am a good dog. I am house trained and have good manners. I walk nicely on my leash and come when I am called. I like dogs and kids and did not chase the cats that I met here. I am active and would let you know if someone was at the door. Come visit Roman at The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925.
Courtesy photo |

For Spay-Neuter services and other support, call the Lake Tahoe Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857.

It’s almost that time of year again when ghosts and ghouls come out to scare us all, and collect a little candy too. Here are a few tips for Halloween pet safety.

1. No treats

Candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for family pets. Chocolate in all forms — especially dark or baking chocolate — can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause serious problems, even death. Please make sure you read food labels, especially in peanut butter. Many people give peanut butter to dogs as a treat or a way to hide medications, which is just fine. However some peanut butter brands are starting to use the artificial sweetener xylitol because of the benefits for people. This is a super dangerous ingredient for dogs. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

2. Decor

Pumpkins are fun to carve and decorative corn makes your Halloween decor complete. These plants are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets that nibble on it. Festive strings of electric lights make for great decorations, however cords should be kept out of reach of your pets to avoid a possible life-threatening shock if chewed — this is true especially for puppies, kittens, cats and small dogs.

3. No real candles please

We all love to light up our carved pumpkins, but it’s just not safe to use a real candle. Choose a battery operated candle it’s safer for your pet and all of us!

4. Costumes

Don’t dress up your pet unless they really, really love it! Costumes can be a big cause of undue stress for your pets. If you do dress up your pets make sure the costume is safe and free of any small or dangling easily chewed-off parts. Costumes should not restrict the animal’s movement or ability to hear or see.

5. Missing pets

During all holidays missing pet numbers sky rocket and Halloween is no exception. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, make sure your pets don’t dart out the door. It might be a good idea to keep cats and dogs in another room to insure their safety. Also make sure all your pets have proper ID tags with correct information. If they do become lost it will improve their chance of finding home.

I am hoping everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit, or

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