Today, three days before Halloween, is perfect timing for my annual tips and treats column. If you plan to stay at home and answer the door for trick or treaters, you likely have candy around. Make sure it’s stored in an area your pets (and kids!) can’t possibly access. When the witching hour arrives and you are on door duty for your neighborhood’s ghosts, superheroes, tiny Colin Kaepernicks and Buster Poseys, pirates and princesses, make sure your dog or cat doesn’t have an opportunity to slip past your visitors. It’s always best to keep four-legged door darters and nervous nellies in a separate room, far from the commotion and temptation. People love getting their pets into the Halloween action and pet costumes are becoming more popular every year. So have fun with that, but be extremely cautious if you plan to be outside with your pet at night. Becoming separated from you on Halloween night will be a harrowing experience for your pet. Finally, here’s a last-minute, Halloween-themed shopping tip: buy canned pumpkin. Many people, including PHS/SPCA’s president, swear by canned pumpkin as the best remedy for a pet’s upset stomach, including bouts with diarrhea. The high fiber food absorbs water. It doesn’t take much pumpkin, either. One or two teaspoons mixed with regular food usually does the trick; some dogs and cats will eat it right from the spoon. Interestingly, canned pumpkin also acts as a stool softener, so it works for constipated pets. Pick up a few extra cans and make a pie. If your pet’s diarrhea or vomiting persist more than 24 hours, that is truly scary. Skip the home remedies and make an appointment to see your vet. Your dog could have ingested pumpkin guts, seeds, stems or worse. And, of course, if you know they ingested chocolate, do not wait 24 hours. See your vet immediately. Have a safe Halloween!
Scott oversees PHS/SPCA’s Adoption, Behavior and Training, Education, Outreach, Field Services, Cruelty Investigation, Volunteer and Media/PR program areas and staff from the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion.