Joye Law Firm has a passionate love for pets, as you can see from our Facebook page, which features an adorable, adoptable Pet of the Week from the Charleston Animal Society. With Halloween right around the corner, we believe it is very important for all pet lovers take precautions to keep animals safe during the festive holiday.

The ASPCAHumane Society and PetMD all offer lots of great tips on pet safety. Here are some simple things you can do to make sure your pet stays safe during Halloween:

  1. Keep pets away from human treats. Anything in the candy bowl should be strictly for human trick-or-treaters. Chocolate – especially dark or baking chocolate – is harmful or deadly to dogs and cats. The artificial sweetener xylitol can also be toxic to dogs, so it’s best to keep all candy away from pets and make sure kids don’t feed their treats to pets. If your kids (or you) want your pets to share in the fun, have pet treats on hand. Many pet shops sell Halloween treats that are safe for dogs or cats. If your pet does ingest something toxic or has symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or rapid breathing, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  2. Pets should be kept away from Halloween festivities. Don’t take your dog with you while trick-or-treating. All of the activity could spook your dog, so it’s best to leave your canine friend at home.
  3. Keep pets inside. In the days leading up to Halloween, make sure all animals are safe inside the house, particularly at night. Animals left in the yard are vulnerable to pranksters. This is especially true for black cats at this time of year.
  4. During trick-or-treating time, keep pets in a safe, separate room – especially if they get antsy when the doorbell rings. All of those strangers in scary costumes can be unsettling for even the most social animals. You also want to make sure pets can’t dart outside when trick-or-treaters come to the door.
  5. Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification, just in case your pet does get away from you. A collar and tags and/or a microchip will help you find your pet if it gets lost in the Halloween shuffle.
  6. Be careful with decorations. Pumpkins and decorative corn can cause stomach problems for pets. Wires and cords for electric decorations should also be kept away from pets; if they chew them they can be burned or shocked.
  7. Keep candles and glow sticks away from pets. While candles look nice in a jack-o’-lantern and glow sticks help trick-or-treaters be seen, candles and glow sticks should also be kept away from pets. Candles can singe or burn pets, and the liquid inside glow sticks can be toxic for pets.
  8. Take special care with any costume you might want to put on your pet. Don’t put a costume on your pet unless you are absolutely sure it will enjoy being in costume. If you’re not sure, give it a try ahead of time. If your pet does wear a costume, make sure it fits well, does not interfere with the pet’s movement, hearing, breathing or vision, and does not have anything dangling off it or easily chewed pieces your pet could choke on. If your pet does not want to wear a costume, don’t force it.
About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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