Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Halloween Pet Safety

Holidays aren’t necessarily the most fun for pets, especially if humans don’t remember to look out for their safety.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Humane Society of the United States are offering some tips to help ensure pets have a safe and happy Halloween.

The experts advise people to not leave pets outside and unattended around Halloween. Pets often become the target of pranks and black cats are especially at risk.

Remember people treats are not for pets. Candy wrappers, lollipop sticks can be harmful to animals. Chocolate can be poisonous for some pets. If you suspect your pet has eaten something that may be poisonous, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

While it may seem like fun, some pets don’t enjoy wearing Halloween costumes. If a costume is a must, make sure it is roomy enough to allow the pet to breathe and doesn’t interfere with vision, hearing or restrict movement. Watch out for dangling parts that could cause pets to trip or could be chewed off and swallowed. Some pets simply do not like dressing up, so if your pet stresses out, forget the costume.

Keep pets away from Halloween decorations, especially those that involve candles, electricity or may break and cause injury. Don’t let them chew on or eat the pumpkins.

Take extra care when opening the door to trick-or-treaters. Strangers in costume could be upsetting to pets that don’t understand the little monsters aren’t real. Consider keeping pets in a separate room where they can be more comfortable. In case a pet does escape, make sure it is wearing identification.

The family dog does not make a good companion for children out trick-or-treating. A normally well-behaved dog may get over-excited by the strange sights and sounds and may become difficult for children, or even adults, to control.