Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

Halloween is two weeks away. You've probably finished decorating, chosen your costume and purchased your candy - but there's one more thing you can't forget to do. Make sure that you understand what Halloween does to your pets and take the necessary precautions to ensure that the whole family has a fun-filled and safe holiday.

Just because you love Halloween doesn't mean your pets do. Halloween can be a very dangerous time for pets. Many pets find the trick-or-treat festivities very stressful. As humans, we know that the ghosts and goblins that visit our homes are just sweet little children looking for candy but to your pets- those are real ghost and goblins.

Unless your pets are highly social and love to be around people- all people- all the time- seclude them during trick-or-treating or party hours. Not only will this guard against your pets "darting" out the door but it will also reduce anxiety. The Dog Sitter or Cat Sitter DVD is a great way to occupy your pet's time alone. The DVDs provide great pet oriented entertainment complete with wildlife images and sounds.

You may also want to consider a Sentry Calming Collar to help alleviate your pet's stress. They are fairly inexpensive and last about a month. Chocolate and candy are not for pets. You might be tempted to give your pets a nibble of Halloween candy- but don't do it! Chocolate is one of the most highly toxic substances for dogs and cats. Candy can contain xylitol which is also a no-no for pets. You'll want to be careful about leaving your candy bowl in a place where your pets can get to it. They don't know that Halloween candy can hurt them and they may try to sneak a nibble when you're not looking.

If the chocolate or xylitol doesn't get them, the wrappers might. Veterinarians report dozens of cases of "treat mishaps" during Halloween. If the wrappers get stuck in your pets' windpipe they may experience difficulty breathing and you may be headed to the emergency room.

A better idea is to offer your pets a healthy doggie or kitty treat. Your pets won't know the difference and it is a much safer alternative.

Be aware of how your Halloween decorations can affect your pets. If you like to carve pumpkins for Halloween be careful not to leave the innards where they can be eaten by your pets. While pumpkin is not toxic to dogs and cats, it's not good for them either. Their digestive systems are not built to process squash.

If you choose to use a candle to illuminate your pumpkin creation, be sure that it is only lit in an area where your pets can't accidentally knock it over. You may hope to see a firemen or two during trick-or-treating hours but you don't want them to be actual firefighters. That would certainly put a damper on the holiday.

Many people like to decorate with things like synthetic cobwebs and technology driven props. Synthetic cobwebs can be a choking hazard so place them strategically. Make sure they are out of your pets' reach. With decorations that feature audio or visual stimulation, go for the battery-operated props. Decorations that use cords are a potential hazard. If chewed, your pets could suffer cuts or burns, or even a life-threatening electrical shock. If you follow these simple guidelines, you can be sure that your entire family will enjoy the Halloween festivities.