Dog Safety during Halloween

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Barbara Hanly

Halloween, and the weeks preceding it, can be a scary and stressful time for your pets. It is so important to be extra vigilant around your pets to ensure their well being. We have some simple tips to help you make sure your pet has a happy and safe Halloween.

1. Ensure your pet is micro chipped and the chip is registered! The chip must be registered with your up to date address and phone number, otherwise people cannot get in contact with you. Only a vet or registered professional (e.g animal rescue) can read this information. Ensure they are also wearing a collar with identification in the event they escape the house.

2. Walk your dog before trick-or-treaters start their visits. Keep a firm grip on the leash; many dogs are frightened by people in costumes.

3. Keep all pets indoors during Halloween and the weeks running up to it. People start letting off fireworks and lighting bonfires from mid October. There have also been reports of pets being teased, injured, stolen and even killed around Halloween night.

4. Make sure that rabbits and other caged animals are safely secured in a garage or indoors, away from the sight and sound of fireworks. As an alternative, the cage can be covered with thick fabric to muffle the sound, making sure there is sufficient ventilation. Horses should be securely stabled or moved to a different location during fireworks displays in the area.

5. Ensure your pets have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren’t frightened by all of the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape. A quiet, inner room where they can’t hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Try and make sure that the pet isn’t left alone if its distressed. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective. When children are coming to the door to trick and treat, cats can quickly slip out the front door, and dogs sometimes try to bite unsuspecting kids, thinking that they’re intruders.

6. Consider crating your pet, which can make them feel more secure and reduce chances of accidental escapes. Provide chew toys, a favourite blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, or whatever comforts the animal. Play soft music or a recording of soothing sounds. They will have to get used to the crate weeks in advance, but once they are, pets often feel safe and secure inside.

7. Don’t leave animals unattended around lit candles, pumpkins or decorations. Wagging tails and curious cats can knock over a candles causing fires or injuries. Decorations could break, causing injuries, or become a chocking hazard if ingested or if they become tangled.

8. Don’t force your pet to wear a costume if they are not used to wearing clothes. Many animals find this uncomfortable and stressful. They can also pose health and safety risks. If your pet is happy to wear a costume, make sure they can breathe, see and hear, and that the costume is flame retardant. Remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed and swallowed. Avoid rubber bands, which can cut off the animal’s circulation or, if accidentally left on, can burrow and cut into the animal’s skin.

9. Don’t take pets trick-or-treating. Dogs can become very distressed and confused by all the noise and activity with strange smells, costumes and loud bangs from fireworks.They may bite, run away or they may even be stolen. Make they they are safe at home with someone you trust.

10. Discuss with children and everyone in the house, the dangers of sharing sweets and chocolate with pets. Ensure you dispose of wrappers before your pets get to them, since the wrappers can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Make sure the dogs can’t get into the trash. Note: Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and even death in dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is — and the smaller the lethal dose.

11. If you suspect your pet has ingested a harmful item or substance, take them to the vet right away. The following are signs of chocolate poisoning:

Excessive drooling
Excessive urination
Pupil dilation
Rapid heartbeat
Vomiting and diarrhoea
Muscle tremors and seizures

Any difficulty breathing, could indicate that your pet has swallowed wrappers or decorations and has an obstructed airway. This is an emergency situation and a vet should be called asap.

12. When walking dogs during or after Halloween, watch carefully for what they might pick up and choke on. Bits of candy and wrappers abound on sidewalks and streets after holidays.

13. Don’t ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect immediately to your local animal rescue and police station.

14. Talk to your vet if your pet gets very scared from fireworks as there is a variety of treatments and medications that can help. Don’t wait until the fireworks are going off to talk to your vet as some products need time to work, ie they take a week for the pet to feel the effects. 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. You can also buy cd’s to help your pet get used to loud noises like fireworks but these need to be used prior to any fireworks going off.

We hope you all have safe and Happy Halloween! From everyone here at Soopa! x

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