Halloween - Full of fright for pets

October 17, 2012 - 10:01am

Petland knows Halloween can be a fun and festive holiday. However, animal lovers need to be aware of the dangers that this bewitching holiday presents to pets.

Halloween can be very intimidating for a pet. There are loud noises, people disguised in scary costumes and many other new sights and sounds that pets are not accustomed to experiencing. When goblins are walking the neighborhood streets, running door to door, knocking, and shouting for candy, it is best that pets be secured in the house - out of harm's way. Secluding pets in a quiet room away from all the Halloween activities is ideal. This helps ensure that they won't make a break for it and escape when trick-or-treaters arrive, nor will they act out and become aggressive at the sight of unsuspecting, costumed guests.

Extra caution should be taken with lit pumpkins and candles, as curious pets can knock them over and possibly start a fire, or burn themselves. It is also a good idea to restrict a pet's access to other decorations such as streamers and typical holiday waste such as cellophane wrappers, foil papers and lollipop sticks. Both cats and dogs can become severely ill from swallowing or eating these items.

Responsible pet owners need to remember a few key safety tips when walking pets outside on Halloween. Pets should be kept on a shorter-than-normal leash and away from groups of children and other pets. Owners should walk their pet earlier in the evening, before dark, and have collars with identification tags on at all times, just in case.

Many pet owners enjoy dressing their precious pets up in festive costumes. Caution is advised. It is important to pick out a costume that is lightweight and non-constricting to the pet. Do not use tight elastics, they can constrict a pet's blood flow and become tangled in the fur. Never leave a costumed pet alone, unsupervised. The pet may chew up and ingest pieces of the costume or become tangled in it, causing serious harm to the pet.

Please protect black cats from age-old superstitions that have linked felines to witchcraft and mystical powers, making the cat the most likely pet to be talked about on October 31. Remember that superstitions are irrational beliefs with little, if any truth. Unfortunately, these beliefs can cause people to make bad choices, including harming a pet at Halloween. Owners of black cats are advised to keep their felines indoors during the month of October. If you see anyone abusing a pet this Halloween, please contact the police.

Pet owners should not share any candy, especially chocolate, with their furry friends, as it can be toxic to both cats and dogs. Never give a pet chocolate. Even a small amount can cause great discomfort. If a pet accidentally gets into some chocolate and there is no indication how much it has eaten, a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

Petland wishes you a pet-friendly and pet-safe Halloween!

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