Monday, October 31, 2011

"Howl"oween Safety Tips

(Words taken from our local dog shelter's Web site, plus a HealthyPets e-mail)

Halloween can be a fun time for our children,
but not necessarily for our pets.
Please follow these tips,
and share them with others,
to help keep pets safe this Halloween.

Protect your pet by keeping it indoors. Trick-or-treaters' excited voices and costumes could spook your dog causing it to run off and get lost. Make sure your dog is wearing identification just in case. Many pets get spooked and escape. Unfortunately they end up in shelters without identification.

Pets can also easily become victims of trick-or-treaters if left outside and unattended.

Keep your pet confined away from the door as you greet trick-or-treaters to prevent it from darting outdoors. (We do not encounter many trick-or-treaters, other than neighbor kids, Shawn, Aaron, Jonathan, Josh, Daniel, David, Will, Brad and Libby, which is enough for me!! I can get easily overwhelmed!! During this time, Rose is kept--against her own will--in our great room behind closed French doors!!)

On Halloween, your dog may feel its territory is being invaded by the onslaught of odd visitors. Keeping your dog in a secluded area of the house will help it stay calm and prevent it from growling or possibly biting a visiting ghoul or goblin. (Although my ever-friendly Rose would never feel invaded, and her worst defense against ghouls or goblins would be a series of excitable "Beagle" bays!!) It may help to provide a chew toy or a toy stuffed with treats, like a KONG which may help reduce stress. You may also want to crate your dog.

Keep Halloween candy out of your pets reach because it can make your pet sick. In fact, chocolate can be fatal to dogs! (Because chocolate contains twain hazardous ingredients: Caffeine and theobromine. If Rose were to eat an ounce per pound of her body weight, she could be in grave trouble. Honestly!! That is when it would be absolutely necessary to induce vomiting. Plus rush her in the direction of our nearest emergency center.) The wrappers, such as tin foil, can also get stuck in your pet's digestive tract, making them sick.

If you have to take your dog with you outside, make sure you use a short leash for the most control, and that your pet is highly visible at all times. Also make sure your pet doesn't stop to eat anything off of the ground.

Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know they love it. (Rose would hate me for dressing her in a costume!!) Otherwise, it will put a lot of stress on your pet. Be sure costumes are safe and will not choke your pet. Also, make sure your pet has a clear view and that their noses are not covered.

Your dog can also be a hazard to itself. If your house has a lot of decorations, your dog may knock them over with a wag of the tail and burn himself. Be sure that your decorations are not pet accessible.

And, when the trick-or-treaters have gone home for the night, don't forget to reward your pet's good behavior with treats made especially for him/her, like dog biscuits. (I think I might allow Rose a small spoonful of peanut butter after the neighbors leave!! Reese's contains this ingredient!! Plus, she loves peanut butter!!)

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