How To Keep Your Pet Safe On Halloween
on October 31, 2009
Posted in Cats
Ah the fall season is upon us once more. The chill in the air, the leaves turning orange and brown, the gardens bounty has been harvested, the goblins are knocking at the door… Wait a minute…GOBLINS? Oh that’s right, it’s Halloween again!
Being that it is Halloween, you will probably want to show your cat or dog off to the world so that they too can see how much of a little devil or angel they can really be. However you need to keep in mind that your pet may not be as receptive to the idea. The ASPCA makes the following recommendations when choosing a costume for your pet:
* Make sure you go slow and reward your pet so that they are comfortable with the idea of wearing something.
* Examine the costume and remove anything that could be chewed off or be a choking hazard.
* Check the fit of the costume so that there are no restrictions to movement, sight or hearing.
* A loose costume may get them caught on something causing them injury.
* If for any reason your animal companion is not comfortable with the idea, consider a festive bandanna or collar.
* Masks are nice for people, but a dog may have issues with them blocking peripheral vision. Enlarge eye holes if possible for added security, as sometimes even a secure dog may get snippy when frightened.
* No matter how your pet’s collar looks with their costume keep it on them and make sure your pet’s info is up to date.
Other Things To Consider
Is your pet scared of big hats or masks on you or other people? Our beloved canine family members see us all the time and associate what we look like on a regular basis as the ‘norm’. So here we have a holiday where we dress up in bizarre clothing, big hairdos, masks, fake weapons, and strange hats and masks, and our pets may become frightened or aggressive towards these objects thinking that they are harming us. Introduce these objects slowly, lay them out, let them sniff them, see you hold them and remember to offer reassurance that the objects are ok and not going to harm you or them.
If you are having an indoor party for Halloween, make sure you take extra precautions for your pet’s safety. Keep all people treats out of reach of drooling mouths, and remind house guests that feeding them is not allowed. Keep in mind that your pets may have problems with the noise of the party, strange costumes on your guests and the constant knocking on the door from the neighborhood goblins. You may consider showing off your dressed pets for a little while before settling them down for the night in a separate room with food, treats, water and other entertainment until the night’s festivities are over. If you decide to keep them out, make sure all decorative candles and Jack-O-Lanterns are out of reach from inquisitive cat noses and wagging dog tails. Another thing to keep an eye on is escaping pets when the door opens, they may just want to go trick or treating on their own.
Outdoors on Halloween is truly a frightful time for your pets. Strangely dressed people walking around and intruding on the property to trick or treat are a minor concern compared to the untold thousands of pets injured by maliciously intent youths and other human predators. Across the U.S. there has been many horrific tales of peoples’ pets being harassed, injured, stolen, tortured and even murdered on Halloween. Even pet shops and rescue shelters are aware of the brutality of some people and refuse to sell or adopt out black cats around Halloween. This is due to several so called sacrifices or rituals and other brutal things done to them in the name of ‘wannabe’ Satanists and Witches. There are even stories of youth who are on a sugar buzz going around setting dogs ablaze in their owner’s backyards just for ‘fun’.
And of course there is the candy. While yes we humans love the foil wrapped chocolaty treats on this eerie holiday they are fatal to our lovable pets. No matter how much they whine, beg or do playful tricks, never give a dog chocolate. Chocolate contains Theobromine and as little as 50 grams of chocolate can poison a dog; and remember that an once of bakers chocolate contains 450mg of Theobromine! The wrappers are another safety concern as well, as they may eat them causing a blockage and require expensive medical procedures to remove. There are several homemade treats available that you can either buy or make yourself for your favorite animal this spooky holiday Halloween.
Photo Credit: Beau B
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan