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Halloween Safety For Your Pets

Halloween is a scary time for pets. They can get nervous when people in costumes come to the door to trick-or-treat, and they can become terrified when fireworks go off.  Here are a few tips for a happier Halloween with your pets.

Keep animals (dogs and cats) indoors for a few weeks before and after Halloween to shield them from fireworks, especially at night.  Their hearing is more sensitive than ours, so what might sound loud to you, sounds deafening to them.

Some dogs and cats will try to scratch or chew their way out of the house to escape loud noises.  Keep sensitive pets in the centre of the house. Play music with a good beat at a moderate volume.  Feed a large carbohydrate meal (pasta, bread, or rice) about an hour before sundown because carbohydrates will make your pet sleepy.  You can also give your dog a toy to keep it occupied.

There are many items available to help calm nervous pets around Halloween time.  These products can also be used for other stressful situations, such as moving, travelling, boarding, or a new addition to the household.  Most of these products are available through your veterinary surgeon.  There are now special calming food and herbal preparation savailable for both dogs and cats to cause relaxation.  There are pheromone impregnated collars, sprays and diffusers are available to help calm nervous pets.  CDs are available to help animals overcome sound phobias, but these must be used for a few months to condition the dog.  A new product on the market for anxiety and sound phobias is the Thundershirt.  These shirts exert constant, gentle pressure on the dog, causing relaxation.  I have tried many of these products on my own dogs, and they do work.

On Halloween night, keep your dog away from the front door.  Dogs get agitated by strangers coming and going, and may be inclined to bite. And don’t give your dog any Halloween candy because chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats and can make them very sick.

Make sure that your dog or cat has a collar with a legible ID tag in case it does run away.  You can also have your pet microchipped, which is particularly useful if the collar comes off.  If your pet is already microchipped, please make sure that your contact details are correct.  Animal shelters and veterinary surgeons are inundated with phone calls about pets missing around Halloween. Unfortunately, due to lack of identification, people aren’t always reunited with their beloved pets. So be prepared!

Cats should be kept indoors from now until a week after Halloween.  There are many cruetly cases involving cats around Halloween time.

Halloween decorations are fun for kids to look at, but can be lethal to our pets.  Cats and dogs can ingest fake cobwebs and other Halloween decorations, causing life-threatening intestinal blockages.  Keep carved pumpkins with lit candles out of reach because our four-footed companions can be knock them over and start fires.

Have a happy and safe Halloween with your pets.  If you are dressing up your dog for Halloween, please ensure that the costume is loose fitting and that their vision is not obstructed.  If your dog is too distressed by the costume, then remove it.
If you follow these simple tips, everyone can have a safe and happy holiday.  Nevertheless, have your vet’s number near the phone in case of an emergency.


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