By Alice Gines
1. Don’t leave your pets outside on Halloween or the days preceding it. This can be a very dangerous time for animals, especially black cats, when Halloween pranks committed against pets can be vicious. Every year there are malicious people who steal, torture, tease, or even kill pets on Halloween. The ASPCA and other pet organizations warn to keep ALL cats indoors and NEVER keep your dog in a car.
2. Halloween candy is for people, not pets. Chocolate, for example, can be deadly to pets. Keep your pets away from candy wrappers, tin foil, cellophane candy wrappers and lollipop sticks which can get lodged in their digestive tracts and cause injury or even death. There are many safe pet treats available to have on hand and many recipes for making homemade dog and cat treats. Teach everyone in your home, especially children, about the dangers of giving candy to pets and warn them about leaving candy wrappers on the floor. Take your child’s candy and keep it out of reach from all pets in a closed closet or drawer. Dispose of candy wrappers before your pets can get to them and keep garbage cans tightly sealed. Some signs that may require immediate veterinarian attention are:
- excessive drooling
- excessive urination
- pupil dilation
- vomiting and diarrhea
- muscle tremors and seizures
3. Children love getting dressed up in costumes at Halloween, but for pets costumes can be extremely uncomfortable, annoying, stressful and even hazardous. If you do dress up your pets, be sure the costume doesn’t affect their ability to breathe, see, hear, smell, move, or bark. Masks are not a good idea for pets as they affect their ability to see. Animals depend on their sight to know what’s going on and even the sweetest dog can get snippy if he doesn’t know what’s going on around him. Injuries from Halloween costumes can include:
- Eye abrasions from sharp objects attached to masks or costumes
- Burns from flammable costumes ignited by open flames such as candles or Jack ‘O Lanterns
- Skin irritations or rashes from decorative face paints or cremes
4. If you use candles in pumpkins, be sure to keep them out of the way of curious paws and noses. The lit pumpkin can get knocked over and cause a fire and cause deadly burns on your pet.
5. You might want to consider keeping your pet is a separate room when trick-or-treaters ring the doorbell. Strangers can frighten pets and even more so in strange costumes.
6. Be sure when you open the door that your pet doesn’t run out when you hand out candy. You might want to consider keeping a pet gate in front of your door to block access in case your pet decides to chase after a trick-or-treater. You may want to crate your pet and be sure to provide plenty of fresh water, chew toys, a favorite blanket, or a piece of clothing with your scent on it to soothe your pet. Soft music can also soothe your pet during this stressful time.
7. If you do decide to let your dog greet visitors at the door, consider keeping him/her on a leash. A frightened dog can lunge, growl or bite. It will also keep him safe from running away or getting hit by a car.
8. Be sure you have proper Pet ID tags on so if your pet does run out, he/she has a better chance of being returned to you. Now is a good time to look at your pet’s collar and update any old information like phone number and address. Also, information must be clear, so if your pet has old ID tags with name, address or phone number rubbed out, now’s a great time to get that replaced.
9. If your animal is very high strung, instead of tranquilizers from your vet. Bach Rescue Remedy works really well it contains a special blend herbal and homeopathic ingredients known for their calming and soothing effect. Bach Rescue Remedy is a natural remedy with no risk of side effects or addiction and can be safely used by animals of all ages and sizes. You can find it at most health food stores.
10. Remember, your pets can’t tell you what’s wrong and what bothers them. They may be more frightened by all the noise, activity and strange people than you think. Be sympathetic and treat them as you would any frightened child. Always have your local Animal Emergency phone number available in case your pet does get into something he/she shouldn’t.
Here’s To Your Pet…Give them a Safe and Happy Halloween!