Halloween Preparation for PetsPublished October 30, 2008
Preparing for Halloween is a lot of fun in our neighborhood. Watching carved pumpkins pop up on lawns, trees decorated with cobwebs, and scary statues appearing, all add to the anticipation of this annual event. I get a kick out of watching parents with small children in tow, dressed as ballerinas, princesses, skeletons and ghosts. Those Trick or treat festivities are a delight, but as "pet parents," we need make plans for our animals' safety. At our house, we always keep our cats safely shut in our bedroom during trick or treat. This prevents potential escapes and any anxiety caused by all the strangers coming and going at the front door. We also play soothing music in the bedroom to cover up all the extra noise. We don't give out any chocolate treats, since they are highly toxic to cats and dogs. We are concerned not only for our own cats, but for our young costumed visitors' pets. Lazarus in costume Check out these excellent 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents from the ASPCA. Following their suggestions will help to make your Halloween fun, safe and stress-free for you and your pets. 1. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. 2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are ingested. 3. Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock. 4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of being burned or singed by candle flames. 5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their "birthday suits," however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress. 6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe or bark. Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on. 7. Take a closer look at your pet's costume and make sure it does not obstruct her vision in any way. Even the sweetest animals can get snappy when they can't see. 8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets. 9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. 10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you. Visit the ASPCA website at http://www.aspca.org for more information. Also check out the article 13 Halloween Safety Tips right here on Petside. What do you think about including your pet in your Halloween festivities? Are you planning to dress them in costume? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.