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HOWL-oween: A Potentially Scary Time for Pets

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HOWL-oween: A Potentially Scary Time for Pets

Halloween is the favorite holiday for many, but for pets, it can be a season of undue stress and potential injury.

Everyone loves a costume . . . well, every HUMAN. If you are dressing your pet this year, try out the costume on him or her first. This not only ensures a proper fit, it also helps you gauge your pet’s reaction. For some animals, the restrictive feel of a costume can be very stressful.  And, if it’s a little loose, it can be a hazard.

Be sure to keep Fluffy or Fido in your sight at all times while wearing his/her costume. This will help prevent potential choking issues from small, dangly costume parts (like bells or fringe), as well as help you make sure your baby doesn’t get  the costume caught on something, causing a potential for strangulation.

Even the best-behaved pet can be very stressed with strangers coming to the door. You may want to keep your loved one locked in a room (after removing his/her costume) until the Trick-or-Treating festivities are over. This will also help you ensure s/he doesn’t run out the door while you are handing out candy and admiring the neighborhood goblins and ghouls. A quick check at the vet to make certain your pet’s micro-chip is still working can be helpful, too, before The Big Night.

Halloween decorations can also cause unnecessary dangers. Lit candles in pumpkins are easily knocked over, and for a curious kitten, they can be a source of potential singeing or burns. It’s best to keep lit pumpkins outdoors. Please note, too, that while pumpkins and gourds are non-toxic to animals, they can cause stomach upset. Limit your pet’s access to any fresh harvest bounty to be on the safe side.

Garlands and streamers, just like any holiday decoration, pose choking hazards and entanglement issues - for cats especially. Make sure that any decorations are out of harm’s way.

By far the biggest threat, though, is Halloween treats and candy. Too much sugar can be harmful to dogs, so make sure that bowl of Snickers is out of reach at all times!  In addition to sugar, the chocolate can be potentially fatal, especially to smaller breeds. And any foil, cellophane, or even paper wrapping can cause intestinal blockage or stomach upset if ingested. No num-nums for Fido or Fluffy!

Halloween is a time when fear and mayhem rule the day. But, don’t make it unnecessarily stressful or dangerous for your pets. Keep these tricks above in mind when planning. Treat your pet right!

(Incidentally, the picture above is of the author’s cat, Lilliana. Lilli won Better Homes and Gardens’ pet costume contest in 2009 with the caption, “Regardless of what my mom might tell you, I am NOT Happy Little Pumpkin Girl!”  I think the photo speaks for itself.)

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