Is your pet spooked by trick-or-treaters? Here’s how to keep them safe and healthy this Halloween

Tips to reduce your pet’s anxiety
Heart + Paw veterinarians treat a dog
Dr. Micah Youello (left) and Dr. Amber Lee treat Valentina the dog at Heart + Paw in King of Prussia. Photo credit John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Picture this: Strangers dressed as ghosts and goblins are ringing your doorbell incessantly, begging for treat after treat after treat.

That would raise anyone’s blood pressure — so imagine how your pet may feel.

Animal anxiety is more common than you may think. Halloween can be a scary time for them. Trick-or-treaters can trigger anxiety-inducing behavior — “it just scares the heck out of them,” said Dr. Micah Youello, partner at Heart + Paw in King of Prussia.

“Anxiety can manifest in behaviors,” he said. “It can turn into aggression, it can become physical and have illnesses from it. There’s a lot of different medications as supplements to treat anxiety, so it’s something that we shouldn’t forget about.

“People know about anxiety in us, but they don’t think about it in their pet. It’s actually super common.”

Youello advised making sure your pets are microchipped and have ID tags attached to their collars, in case they run away. And, contact your veterinarian before Halloween if your dog has been showing signs of anxiety.

“Sometimes I have found that there are kind of more aggressive behaviors from humans toward black cats,” added associate Dr. Amber Lee, “just because of the whole myth of black cats being bad luck. So if you have a black cat … and it’s an indoor/outdoor cat, [I would suggest] keeping it inside.”

Be mindful of candy, too. Chocolate and raisins are toxic and potentially fatal. The darker the chocolate, the more harmful it could be.

“The first sign of any illness — it’s easier for us to treat a chocolate toxicity before they are sick,” Youello explained. “Once they are sick — that could be vomiting, diarrhea, seizure behavior — sometimes that is really late in the illness.”

A small piece of chocolate could be deadly for a smaller dog but not as toxic for a larger dog. Regardless, be sure not to leave any pieces lying around.

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