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Frights of the furry

Halloween night can be terrifying for your animal friends

Posted: October 20, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 20, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Halloween night can be terrifying for your animal friends

 

With its costumes, candy, and festive decor, Halloween can be the most fun holiday of the year for humans. Pets, however, can find all the unusual sights and sounds downright frightening.

Make this Halloween spook-free for Spot by following the following tips from the Society of the Prevent of Cruelty for Animals Los Angeles and veterinarian Dr. Evelyn Vega-Douglas of Happy Pets Veterinary Center in Valencia.

n Keep pets indoors, instead of a yard where they are exposed to trick-or-treaters and the potential of escaping and getting lost in the neighborhood. A quiet room with their pet bed, favorite toys, soothing music and if possible, a human companion, is ideal.

Vega-Douglas follows the same Halloween ritual every year at her home. “I put the dogs in my bedroom, turn on Animal Planet and close the door. Then we leave the front door open and sit on the porch to avoid the constant door bell ringing, which is what drives the dogs crazy,” she said. “If needed, then sedation can be used. Anything from a natural sedative to acepromazine, which can be prescribed by a veterinarian.”

n While the SPCALA does not recommend taking pets out trick-or-treating, Vega-Douglas said some exceptions can be made. “If the dog is comfortable with people, especially a lot of different people in costumes and screaming, then it should be fine. Some houses even offer dog snacks for four-legged trick-or-treaters instead of candy,” she said. “If your dog is shy and does not do well in these situations, then it would definitely be best to leave them at home.”

n Remember that candy of any kind is not for pets. Chocolate is well-known as being unsafe for pets, but natural treats such as raisins and ingredients such as xylitol, found in many chewing gums, are also toxic.

Obstruction is another danger with candy, according to Vega-Douglas. “Dogs don’t know to suck on or chew hard candy. They usually swallow it whole, which can cause a pet to choke on the candy and possibly the wrapper,” she said. “Plus, just like candy is bad for people with its high sugar content, it is also bad for our pets. Some dogs have a sweet tooth, which shouldn’t be encouraged, as it leads to hunting for sweets and getting into trouble.”

The best bet? Play it safe and do not give of candy any kind to pets. If your pet accidentally does consume candy, call your local poison control center or an emergency veterinarian immediately.

n Keep your pet away from lit candles, which can be knocked over and cause a fire. Curious pets also run the risk of singeing whiskers and getting burned.

n If you like to play dress up with your pet on Halloween, make sure to use only pet-approved costumes that are specifically made for them. Proper fit is important, too. If a costume is too tight, it can impact breathing and movement, while pets can trip and injure themselves on too large or long costumes.

n If possible, teach your pet how to come when called. Should your pet become loose in the Halloween hubbub, knowing “come” will help him or her return home quickly.

n Current identification tags are vital. With doors constantly opening and closing, there’s a chance your pet could sneak out of the house. Outfit your pet in a reflective collar with tags. Even better, have your pet microchipped and register its information immediately. Lost pets can be scanned at shelters or veterinary offices, prompting a quick reunion with owners.

n If your pet does become lost, check your local shelter immediately. Impounded pets are featured online via shelter websites, but going in person to look for your pet is the best way to ensure proper identification and quick retrieval.

 

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