21 October 2010

North Shore Animal League America encourages pet safety on Halloween

This time of year brings with it a great deal of fun to be had and priorities to be organized--find costumes, organize trick-or-treating adventures and try not to consume half your weight in chocolate. And while we're all up to our eyeballs in fun-sized candy and figuring out how to resist temptation, North Shore Animal League America – the world's largest animal rescue and adoption organization -- wants everyone to remember that another one of those top priorities should be keeping pets safe during this busy time of year.

According to the organization, "Halloween poses special hazards due to frequently opened doors, door bells and excessive noise which can be frightening to pets, and most importantly chocolate and other candies which are toxic to animals."  In order to avoid those hazards and keep four-legged family members safe in their wake, North Shore Animal League America offers the following tips:

Make sure your pets have on identification at all times. With that front door continuously opening and closing for trick-or-treaters, there is a chance they could run out - especially if they're spooked.

Give your pets a quiet, safe place on Halloween. Scary parties, constant doorbell ringing or too many strangers in your home can be stressful to your four-legged friends and even make them physically ill.

Halloween candy, wrappers and decorations should be kept out of your pets' reach. Chocolate can be toxic to animals, and many sugar-free candy, gum and baked products today contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Tinfoil, cellophane, plastic candy wrappers and party supplies can be hazardous if swallowed. *If you suspect that your pet has ingested any amount of xylitol, call your veterinarian immediately.

Keep lighted pumpkins out of your pet's reach. Pets can knock them over, and curious kittens especially run the risk of being burned.

Keep all electrical chords and wires out of your pet's reach. Halloween decorations are a great way to celebrate the holiday but can be harmful and even deadly to your pets should they chew on or ingest them.

Unfortunately, there can be tricks in addition to treats on Halloween. Keep your pets inside so that they will not be the target of pranksters who might tease, injure, steal and even seriously harm pets on this night.

Costumes are fun for people, but not necessarily for your pets. Don't dress up your pet unless you know they enjoy it. Make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe, and doesn't restrict movement, vision, hearing or ability to breathe or bark. Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that the pet could chew off and possibly choke on. Make sure that costumed pets are supervised at all times.

It's never a good idea to take your pet trick-or-treating. Dogs may become excited and uncontrollable, and if frightened may bite. For their protection, cats should be kept indoors at all times.

Stephanie DeBalko | @_stephanied_
Stephanie is a freelance writer who loves shelter dogs and Vegenaise. She can be found at Homespun by Stephanie.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/picturepurrfect685