Most children and adults look forward to Halloween fun, costumes and trick-or-treating. But this particular holiday can prove to be a stressful and potentially hazardous time for your beloved pets. Here are some tips to keep your animals safe and sound during this Halloween season.
* Loud noises can easily excite and frighten pets. Dogs in particular can often feel threatened by strangers appearing at the door in strange costumes. If possible, keep your pets secured in a separate room in your house while young trick-or-treaters are ringing your doorbell. If you decide to let your pets be "part of the action", keep a close eye on them so they don't suddenly make a break for the open door and slip out into the great outdoors.
* Don't leave your pets outside on Halloween night. Cat's especially should be kept indoors several days prior to (and on the night of) Halloween. Pranksters can tease or hurt your animal at this time of the year, and we've all heard the horror stories of cats being killed by vicious people on this particular night.
* If dressing your pet up in costume, make sure it is lightweight and non-constricting. It should be loose enough that an animal can easily get out of it. Don't use rubber bands, as they can constrict flow if too tight and can become entangled in an animal's fur. Also, get your pet used to the costume several days before Halloween and don't force them to wear it if they rebel. Never leave a pet in costume unattended. They could chew it up and ingest harmful materials or become entangled and choke.
* Make sure your walk your dog earlier in the evening, before it gets dark.
* If you are escorting children for trick-or-treating, leave your pets at home. Dogs get can excited and stressed when encountering all these "strange laughing, squealing" creatures and may become agitated enough to snap at a young child. If you must take your dog with you, keep it on a short leash and away from large groups of children and other pets.
* Halloween candy is for humans, not animals. Do not give your pets any candy, especially chocolate. Candy in itself can make your pet sick and chocolate is especially toxic to dogs.
* Cellophane wrappers, foil papers and lollipop sticks should be discarded into the garbage. These items can hazardous to your pet if swallowed by causing intestinal obstructions and even perforating the intestines, which is life-threatening.
* Keep your pets away from lit candles and pumpkins. They can easily knock them over causing a fire. Cats and kittens are especially curious and could ally burn themselves if they get too close to an open flame.
* Make sure your pets have collars and identification tags just in case they do manage to get outside.
Remember, Halloween is a favorite "human" holiday. By following the above tips your pet should remain safe and relatively happy during the Halloween season.
Halloween & Pets Don't Mix
by Rose Smith, Copyright 2002
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