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Halloween goodies ghastly for pets

link Sharna Johnson

In search of ponies

It’s a disturbing day, really, and it’s coming on fast.

But the disturbances aren’t because of all the little ghouls and goblins running around everywhere, or the copious amounts of money spent on candy that is going to super charge all the little people in the neighborhood for days to come.

Sticky little hands, cold, squabbling sugarcoated kittens and monsters, whining super heroes, mummies unraveling before your eyes — those aren’t the reasons either.

Nor do cobwebs, ominous fog machines, repeatedly listening to Monster Mash or a doorbell that rings for several hours, cause disturbance.

To the contrary, those things are all part of the charm, the fun and the purpose of the occasion — and those things are expected.

What is far more likely to be disturbing is the unexpected.

A snout buried in a plastic pumpkin accompanied by guilty eyes, the sound of rustling wrappers and rapidly inhaled mini chocolate bars.

Or perhaps it’s frisky claws sunk into the bandages that trail a passing mummy or worse yet, a weeping fairy with a mangled wand while the pooch sits by licking glitter from sparkling teeth.

Of course, it’s not entirely unexpected, after all, when animated, life-sized squeaking and squealing toys descend into their otherwise quiet world. Any pet worth their salt is bound to step up to meet the occasion.

Add blinking lights and sparkly bits, put a nice, full bag of candy in each set of little hands, and it’s a pooch's dream come true.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t much good to be found for critters amongst the costumes and candies, and more than likely, things will go an entirely un-fun direction pretty quick if they partake.

In fact, it’s a busy time of year for the Pet Poison Helpline, which has a 12 percent increase in calls during Halloween.

And it can be an expensive holiday for pet owners.

As if the $370 million American pet owners spend annually on costumes for their fuzzy ones weren’t enough, the truth of the matter is, there simply isn’t much they won’t eat, and it’s a drive that doesn’t go away just because they’ve been dressed to look like people.

According to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., post-Halloween vet treatment for critters averages:

• More than $1,600 for consumed costume parts;

• Over $550 for raisin toxicity (yep, that’s right, raisins are a no-no);

• About $350 on chocolate poisoning;

• More than $300 to address toxicity from gum and goodies containing Xylitol;

• $200 or so for stomach and gastrointestinal upset.

It’s simply too much to ask that they abstain when there are things to chew on absolutely everywhere.

Then of course there are the lasting affects of hours from barking and running to check the door, confused and distressed by the lines of scary humans that look like the stuff that lurks in backyard shadows.

In some cases it’s even enough to send them into a tucked-tail dash designed to take them as fast and as far from the chaos as possible, because that’s probably exactly where they need to be.

Despite what they might be thinking as they root around in neglected treat bags, or how happy they seem while sucking dropped sweets off the carpet and how cute they look while chewing on the pricey boots that serve as a perfect compliment to their pirate costume, chances are good, Halloween just isn’t going to be their day.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: [email protected]