Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pet Safety Tips for Halloween

Fall is a magical time of the year with the crisp air and the crunchy leaves under your feet. I love watching the seasons change with a cup of hot cider and a warm blanket to snuggle under. Since Halloween is my favorite holiday I enjoy getting into the spooky spirit of it all!

This year I decided to combine my love of Halloween with my passion for helping animals. So a few weeks ago we had the “Halloween Howler,” a festive fundraiser for NMHPU. It was quite an exciting evening and I think everyone had a great time. Guests and pets came dressed up in a variety of theme costumes including a complete Wizard of Oz family, a mail man dog with his 2 human letters, and some matching cheese head fans. No one held back for this occasion.

Every year I dress up Charlie and Sassy (my 2 small doggie companions) in costumes as well. They never seem thrilled at the idea but they love getting to go places. So it is a good compromise.

Now at stores there is a huge assortment of fun costumes available to get your pet into character. I am always amazed at the creativity that goes into designing them. But there are some things to consider when selecting a costume besides just what we think will look cute.

Make sure their costume is comfortable. We don’t like to wear uncomfortable things, so don’t force them to. It should not constrict or block their vision, breathing, or hearing. Also select a costume that does not have small chewable pieces to prevent choking. Try the costume on your pet before Halloween to make sure you pet is not stressed out in any way.

No matter how cute they look in their costumes, making them suffer is not worth it. Over all the costume should be safe and pleasant for them. You would not want them to get snagged or caught on anything that could result in an accident.

When it is time to attend Halloween parties or hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, keep your furry friends in mind. Strangers in costumes can be scary and stress out your pet, especially if they are constantly knocking on your door. It is best to keep all pets in a separate room so they are not so stressed out. Also this will help prevent your pet from darting out the door when candy is being handed out. If taking your pet to other Halloween parties always keep them on a leash just to make sure they don’t get startled and run off.

As an extra precaution, make sure your pet’s tags and microchips are always current. There is nothing sadder then a lost pet never finding their way home again simply because they didn’t have current identification!! So make sure you are looking out for pets ahead of time.

Treats are always fun to eat and share! What is Halloween without a bunch of teeth rotting goddies? But they are not good for our furry friends, so please keep them away from them. Chocolate in just about any form can make your pet sick with vomiting and diarrhea. Also candy wrappers and artificial sweeteners can be poisonous for cats and dogs. They will beg, but don’t be a sucker and give into those cute faces no matter how persuasive they are!

I love to decorate my house and go all out for Halloween. But I always have to consider my pets at home. Pumpkins or decorative corn can cause gastro-intestinal problems, so don’t leave those out to be munched on. Fake cobwebs always seem to attract my cats no matter where I place them, so watch out for those. I have learned this one the hard way at the vets office. Keep wires and cords out of reach also. One little nibble could shock a pet or even be fatal. Candles can also be a safety concern, so keep them is a safe place where a tail won’t catch on fire!

Pet safety doesn’t have to be a nightmare and you can still have a spooktacular good time! Just remember if celebrating with your furry monsters planning ahead will help create a safe holiday.

Happy Halloween!!

-Maranda Hawkes
Volunteer Director

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