YOUR PET’S BEST FRIEND – CHRISTINE MALLAR Here are a few tips to ensure that this holiday stays fun and safe
- Make sure your pets are wearing their ID tags – if you’re opening the door frequently, there could be a lot of opportunities for escape. Perhaps keep a leash by the door to use with dogs that could dart outside, or a baby gate across the front door.
- Not every pet enjoys being dressed up. Make sure your costumes are not stressful for your pet to wear and don’t have elements that could be easily ingested or could hurt a pet with tight elastic, etc. If they like dressing up, then go for it!
- Remember that tons of ringing of the doorbell, literally revealing monsterson the other side who could be shrieking and squealing, could be disconcerting for any pet. This is highly unusual and the humor of the situation is often lost on them. If your pets are the frightened kind, you can do one of two things: Lock them in another part of the house (with things to play with and bones to chew) so they don’t have to be subjected to it, or turn it into an opportunity to give them a little treat and a party each time the doorbell rings! If monsters have the ability to give hotdogs, they soon aren’t so scary at all! Pass out dog treats to those that can give them to your pup. This could be an especially valuable socialization exercise if you have a puppy!
- Exercise your pets before the festivities begin. This will make them more relaxed and able to handle the excitement of the evening. If your pet is really fearful, consider some of the calming pet treats mentioned in this blog post from the 4th of July (http://retireusa.net/blog/july-4th-potential-fun-for-people-nightmare-for-pets/)
- Don’t let pets roam on Halloween, or even the night before Halloween. We’ve heard terrible stories of cats injured or worse, especially black cats.
- Be cautious of open flames in unusual places (candles on window sills or in pumpkins) as they can be tipped over and cause everything from singed whiskers to a house on fire.
- Of course, I couldn’t end before addressing the many hazards of pets getting into the candy. The sticks and wrappers are dangerous to swallow, and some of the ingredients can be pretty toxic. Chocolate can be lethal, especially if it’s dark. Xylitol, a sweetener used in gum and some other candies can cause liver failure and low blood sugar (which can result in a loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as soon as 30 minutes). Other ingredients that can cause trouble are grapes and raisins which can cause kidney failure, and macadamia nuts, which can cause muscle tremors, weakness/paralysis of the hindquarters, vomiting, elevated body temperature, and rapid heart rate. Tell everyone in the family to be very careful with their candy and wrappers, and to watch out for candy that’s fallen in the street when you’re walking the dog. If you feel like your pet might have ingested something they shouldn’t have, here’s a link to a good resource: http:/www.petpoisonhelpline.com There’s actually a nifty app from them that you can download ahead of time – http://retireusa.net/blog/pet-poisons-theres-an-app-for-that/