Halloween might be a favorite day for children, but for many pets … not so much.
The night of constant doorbell ringing and irresistible treats can be stressful for pets or make them sick, according to Olde Towne Pet Resorts (OTPR). The Pet Poison Hotline had a 21 percent increase in calls from Halloween 2011 to 2012, according to Dog Watch, a publication of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
In addition to tips for keeping pets happy, OTPR also is offering a Halloween Pet Retreat from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 31. Owners can simply drop their pets off during trick-or-treating hours. The retreat will include a costume contest, indoor/outdoor play, games and pet cams to keep an eye on your furry friend.
So OTPR put together the following tips for pet owners:
1. Keep pets away from the door or take them to a pet safe party
Not only will your door be opening and closing constantly on Halloween, strangers will be dressed in unusual costumes and yelling loudly for candy. This is scary for animals and can agitate them. Put your dog or cat in a secure room away from the front door to prevent them from darting outside.
You can also bring them to a friend’s house who won’t be participating in trick or treating, or look for Pet Safe parties like the ones hosted at Olde Towne Pet Resort (Springfield and Dulles, VA). A Pet Safe party is a pet drop-off event at a local animal facility where pets can enjoy being with other pets in a supervised environment, away from the stress of trick or treating and Halloween pranks.
2. Don't leave pets out in the yard on Halloween.
Pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Black cats are especially at risk for pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. In fact, many shelters do not adopt out black cats during the month of October as a safety precaution.
3. IDs, please!
If your dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that they will be returned. Just make sure the information is up-to-date, even if your pet has an embedded microchip.
4. Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets
Chocolate is the most common culprit. The compound methylxanthine can make a 50-pound dog seriously ill with just one ounce of Baker’s chocolate. Look for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, or elevated heart rate. In extreme case, the dog may have seizures. Other toxic treats: candy and gum with the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure. Lollipop sticks and plastic-wrapped candies can cause choking or obstruction requiring surgery.
5. Keep Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn out of reach
Although they are relatively nontoxic, these plants can induce gastro-intestinal problems if your pet eats them in large quantities. Intestinal blockage can even occur if large pieces are swallowed. And speaking of pumpkins…
6. Don't keep lit pumpkins around pets
If they get too close, they run the risk of burning themselves or knocking it over and causing a fire.
7. Keep wires and electric light cords out of reach
If your pet chews them they could cut themself on shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
8. Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know they'll love it
If you do decide that Fido or Kitty needs a costume, make sure it isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict movement, hearing, or the ability to breathe or bark and meow.
9. Try on pet costumes before the big night
If they seem distressed, allergic, or show abnormal behavior, consider letting them go in their “birthday suit”.
10. Decorations should not be tied on a pet
Do not tie ribbons or tinsel on pets and be careful of rubber bands used to hold decorations together. All of these can be harmful if swallowed or wrapped around a paw. Festive bandanas are a great alternative.
For more information about Olde Towne Pet Resort – the nearest location is 21460 Squire Court in Dulles – visit www.OldeTownePetResort.com.