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Making Halloween a fun and safe time for you and your pets

Halloween is such a fun time of year! Dressing up, decorating and (of course!) the candy! But, for those of us with pets, it’s important to remember that Halloween can be a frightening and stressful time. If we keep this in mind, we can help our pets get through the holiday having as much fun as we do. Here are a few tips to remember when it comes to Halloween and your beloved pet:

  • We have all probably heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs but were you aware that the same goes for your cat? A large enough dose of chocolate can be very harmful for your pet. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increase in thirst and urination, accelerated heart rate and even seizures.
  • It is not just chocolate candy you should look out for at Halloween time; other candies are just as dangerous to our pets. There is an artificial sweetener called Xylitol that is found in many candy products on the market and it can be poisonous to dogs. Even in small amounts, this harmful substance can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar that can lead to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.
  • You may think it’s cute to dress your pet up in a costume but think about the personality of your beloved pet and how they might feel in the outfit before subjecting them to this timeless tradition. Many cats and dogs don’t like costumes and, though it may seem entertaining for a moment, is their unhappiness really worth it if they are clearly miserable? If you have an easy-going pet that doesn’t mind partaking in the fun, be mindful of the costume you pick out for them. Make sure that it doesn’t impair their movement, hearing, sight, or ability to breathe or bark normally. It’s also a good idea to check the costume for any choking hazards – especially if it’s a young puppy that you are dressing up.
  • It’s a good idea to keep pets safe inside and away from the front door when trick-or-treaters come to call. It can be quite an upsetting time from a pet’s perspective. Most pets are used to a routine and, suddenly, everything in their world becomes disrupted. The doorbell rings repeatedly, a never-ending line of loud sugar-fueled children come calling at your door, and strange-sounding Halloween decorations go off repeatedly in the house. This can become a very stressful time for a pet, especially if they are older and not used to such chaos. Think about the possibility of your beloved pet becoming so spooked that it darts out the open door when you are handing out candy and takes off down the street. Be sure that your pet is put away safely in another room of the house or, at the very least, be sure that they are wearing identification tags should the worst case scenario happen.
  • Though it’s always fun to decorate for the holiday it is important to keep decorations away from your pets. Curious kittens could get burned from candle flames and excited dogs could knock over a lighted jack-o-lantern and start a fire. Fake cobwebs and dangling decorations should be placed high enough that pets can’t get in to them.

Halloween is a fun time for the entire family (including our pets!) And, if we simply instill some common sense practices, the holiday can be equally enjoyed by all of us!

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Tuesday, 30 May 2023

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