Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Safety for Your Pet

Photo courtesy IreneS on Flickr.

My favourite holiday of the year is nearly here again. While Halloween is not what it was when I was a child - back then parents didn't have to worry about their children and we could eat those wonderful homemade treats that ended up in our bags - it is still a fun evening. However, Halloween may be as much fun for our animal companions.

Photo courtesy Dynamick.

Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe (precautions should be taken for several days on each side of Halloween)

1. Keep cats in and take dogs out on lease only. Cats should be kept indoors at all costs as well as off balconies. Even if the balcony is too high for a firecracker to be thrown onto it, the noise may be traumatic for the pet. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who think it's funny to either terrorize or harm a helpless animal. Be especially alert if your cat is black. If you are giving kittens away, wait until after Halloween. Keep your dogs on leases. The noise and smell of the activities and firecrackers could frighten a dog causing it to run away and become lost. If you do take your dog outside, make sure your pet is wearing proper identification (your phone number is a bare minimum).

2. Do not allow the pets any candy of any kind. Not only is chocolate deadly to dogs, cats and ferrets; but, certain types of sweeteners can either kill or cause severe health issues for them. Even small amounts of some sweeteners can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar,lead to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion can include vomiting; diarrhea; hyperactivity; increased thirst, urination and heart rate; seizures; and, possible death.

3. Take care when disposing of candy wrappers. Both dogs, cats and ferrets love to play with things they can bat around. Candy wrappers fit the bill perfectly; but, cats, in particular, also love to taste (and/or eat) strange things. If ingested, the wrappers can cause damage to the intestinal tract; or, even block the tract and cause death if not treated by a vet.

4. Be careful with Halloween decorations. Again, pets love to play and/or ingest things. The cobwebbing used at this time of year can cause problems or death if ingested. Lighted candles can be knocked over during Halloween play or possibly set the pet on fire under the correct circumstances. Great care should be taken when using these decorations. If you are a bird owner, remember that your feathered friend can become entangled in cobwebbing or land on a hot candle holder and burn its feet.

5. Be careful if you dress up your pet. Check to make sure there is ample room in the outfit for the pet to move and breathe freely. Be on the lookout for choking hazards or pieces that could be ingested. Also ensure that your pet will not trip when running while in outfit.

6. Even though your pets may be at home, make sure they are wearing identification. With all the comings and goings at the door, all the noise and excitement, a pet can easily slip out when frightened and id is what get them home most of the time. Lost pets without id can (and do) end up at the SPCA, pound or shelter.

Happy Halloween to you and your pets!! May you enjoy it as much as I do.

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