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Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital

Halloween Pet Safety

October 18, 2013

Halloween is a time of tricks and treats for kids of all ages. Many of us get so caught up in the festivities that we get our dogs involved by dressing them up (like Snow White in the photo), or, conversely, forgetting that this time of year can be particularly stressful and dangerous for our four-legged friends.

Here are some tips to keep your fur-babies safe during the spooktacular festive season:

  • Keep Halloween treats away from pets. Most people know that chocolate is toxic and potentially fatal to both dogs and cats, but all candy, with its high sugar content, can cause serious health problems if eaten. Similarly, candy wrappers smell appetizing to pets, but can cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested.
  • Keep pets inside on Halloween. While it may be tempting to coordinate your dogs’ costume with the rest of the family’s and take her trick-or-treating with you, even the most well-adjusted and laid-back dogs can get spooked and run off if confronted with an unusual costume or loud fireworks. The same goes for cats; even if they’re used to being outdoors, the extraordinary circumstances of Halloween may frighten and confuse them, causing them to run off and hide.
  • Keep pets away from doors and windows. Consider crating your pets (if they are crate trained and see it as a safe place), or keeping them in a separate room for the evening. The constant opening of the door to greet trick-or-treaters, combined with loud noises and odd-looking strangers could potentially be very stressful for your pets. You can help drown out offensive noises by playing a radio or television for them.
  • Make sure that your pets have identification. Even if you are planning to keep them inside all evening, if they do get spooked and take off, you’ll want to make sure that you can get them back home. Get collars and tags with your contact information for your pets to wear. If your pets are tattooed, be sure that the veterinary clinic that tattooed them has your up to date contact information. If your pets aren’t tattooed, consider a microchip as a permanent identification method.
  • Skip the costume. While we can all agree that a dachshund dressed up as a hot dog is both cute and clever, the dog may beg to differ. Costumes can cause tripping or choking hazards, and also potentially encourage inter-dog aggression. If you do decide to dress your dog up, make sure that you supervise her while she is dressed, and keep her to a safe, calm area.

 

 

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