Halloween Pet Safety 101

Halloween Pet Safety 101
Ginger the dog. Photo courtesy YouNews reporter hnfairbanks

1. Never feed candy to pets. Chocolate and the artificial sweetener Xylitol can be toxic to dogs. Keep an eye on pets around candy dishes. Pumpkin is relatively safe, but may give pets an upset stomach. If your pet ingests something harmful, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Keep pets away from electric decorations and Jack-o-lanterns containing candles.
Pets that chew on wires or come in contact with candles can be burned or electrocuted.

3. Pets may view trick-or-treaters as frightening intruders. Keep pets in a bedroom, or even a bathroom, with a bed or pillow and a long-lasting treat or favorite toy. Kongs can be safer than rawhide, which may become a choking hazard when moist. A Kong filled with peanut butter and/or Cheezwiz and then frozen, will last longer and keep your pet occupied. Cats that regularly have access to the outdoors should be kept inside for the night.

4. Identification with current and easy to read information is your pets’ ticket home if he or she does escape and become lost. Update your contact information with your pets’ microchip company. Escaped pets frightened by Halloween festivities may become confused and get lost, even in a familiar area.

5. Reflective collars can prevent pets from being hit by a car. Stretchy or break-away collars are safest for cats. Regular collars can cause a cat to become trapped or hung on fences or branches. Even pets kept inside should wear collars, if just for the night.

6. Teach trick-or-treaters to steer clear of pets. Even normally friendly animals, frightened by costumes or anxious due to repeated knocks on the door, can become defensive and dangerous. Put your own costume on in front of your pet or he or she may not recognize you. Never sneak up on a pet while wearing a mask or hat.

7. Pet costumes should be comfortable and safe. Costumes that impede movement are stressful and can accidents and injury. Check costumes for potential tripping or choking hazards.

8. If you lose or find a pet, check with neighbors. Call your local animal control agency to report a lost or found pet and to find out what resources are available in your area. Post photos on Craig’s list. If you find a pet, have him or her scanned for a microchip. Any veterinarian will scan a pet for free. Email a photo of the pet to Greenhill and 1st Avenue Shelter at information@green-hill.org. Post flyers. Agency phone numbers, flyer templates and other resources can be found online.