October 4, 2010
As you prepare for Halloween festivities, keep these safety pointers in mind to make sure your dogs and cats stay out of harm’s way.
1. Guard the Halloween candy – chocolate and certain sweeteners such as Xylitol can be fatal for pets so be sure to keep your Trick-or-Treat stash stored safely and out of reach. Remember that empty plastic and aluminum wrappers can be just as dangerous as the candies themselves.
2. If your pet does consume a large amount of chocolate or candy, make a call to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control for guidance. If in doubt, take your pup or kitty to the vet in case medical intervention is required.
3. Don’t take Fido Trick-or-Treating – Many pets can be frightened by unusual sights and sounds that come along with Trick-or-Treating, so keep them at home for their own safety. Nervous pets can feel very alamrmed when kids in costume try to pet them, and this could result in a fear based bit in extreme cases.
4. Keep them secured – If you’re staying home to greet Trick-or-Treaters, make sure your pet is secured before answering the door in case they take fright and try to escape. Use a crate ideally, or confine them in a room where they will be safe and calm. Put on the radio or TV to drown out any outside noise that might frighten them.
5. Although you’ll likely be busy with Halloween preparation all day, make it a priority to exercise your dog and really tire him out during the day so he can rest during the evening. . This will help alleviate any pent up energy and reduce anxiety.
6. Keep Halloween decorations containing electrical wires or other dangerous parts, well out of your pet’s reach. Nervousness and anxiety from being outside the normal daily routine, can make a pet even more likely to exhibit behaviors like destructive chewing, so Halloween represents double the risk.
7. A pet-safe chew toy, or better still, a raw beef marrow bone, is an excellent way to keep your dog occupied and happy when there are lots of distractions outside or within your home.
8. Keep cats safe too. Black cats in particular can be exposed to increased risks on Halloween, if they become the subject of terrible pranks, sacrificial rituals by some, or stolen as props for the evening. Keeping cats in a spare bedroom or bathroom with access to a litter tray is the best idea to keep them out of harm’s way.
9. Be extra careful with lighted candles or Halloween lanterns. An over excited or panicked pet can knock over a flame just as easily as a child.
10. Don’t dress up your pet in a costume, unless he or she is very used to, and comfortable with, this form of animal ‘humanization’. Many pets feel extremely anxious when made to wear a costume, and an incorrectly fitting costume can become dangerous if it has the potential to become displaced, causing a strangulation hazard or obstruction vision and causing panic.
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