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Keeping your pet safe on Halloween

  • McClatchy-Tribune News Service
  • Published Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Children wait all year to go trick-or-treating. Over the years that family fun has grown to include our pets. From Halloween pet parades, costumes, specialty toys and other themed pet products, this tradition is fun for everyone, including our favorite “furries.”

However, not all companion animals embrace the loud noises, scary gestures and costumes that come with the holiday, so the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council is sharing some tips to help keep pets safe and secure over the holiday:

• Noise such as constant doorbell ringing and door knocking may stress your pets. Find a quiet room in the house with food, water, a litter box or crate and bring them out after it’s all over.

• Candy and candy wrappers can be toxic to pets. Never leave candy unattended, or within reach, of your cat or dog. Chocolate is toxic to pets, and foil and cellophane wrappers, if ingested, will cause havoc on the animal’s digestive tract, which could result in surgery or death.

• Animal cruelty increases every Halloween. Leading up to Halloween, and Halloween itself, keep your pets – especially black cats (white cats, too) – indoors to reduce the possibility of harmful pranks or acts of animal cruelty.

• Jack-o’-lanterns and other decorations with flames are dangerous around unpredictable pets. Cats and dogs have been known to knock over lighted candles, which have resulted in home fires. Consider flameless candles as part of your decor and try to eliminate as many electrical cords as possible to prevent chewing.

• Leash your animals if they will be outdoors to prevent them from running in front of cars or running away, and make sure they are properly tagged and micro-chipped in case they do get away.

• Animal costumes can restrict a pet’s vision, movement and/or hearing – make sure it does none of those.

• Running, chasing, quick movements by trick-or-treaters toward animals, or their owners, may be perceived as an aggressive action by a pet. Discourage children from acting this way to avoid an altercation. Better yet, if your dog appears to be agitated, keep your pet inside and away from children.

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