Wednesday, October 27, 2010

'Howl-o-ween' Pet Safety Tips

While Halloween can be frighteningly fun for families, it can be too scary and potentially dangerous for pets. The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) recommends taking these precautions to help keep pets safe this Halloween:

Leave the family dog at home when while trick-or-treating. Even dogs that are normally sociable and relaxed may become difficult to handle during the noise and confusion of the festivities. If they get loose, they may dart into traffic or become lost. It's best to keep pets indoors, in a separate room of the house, so they don't slip out when the door is opened. It's especially important to keep black cats indoors during the period around the holiday, as they may be a target of pranksters.

Parents should keep their children away from strange animals. Animals are easily frightened at the sight of noisy, costumed children and may bite.

Use decorations with caution. Keep pets away from lighted pumpkins and electrical cords to avoid shocks and burns.

Keep candy out of your pet's reach. Chocolate can be toxic to many animals including dogs, cats and ferrets. Wrappers can be dangerous too. Remember that any change in an animal's diet can cause digestive upset.

Don't dress your pet in a costume unless you know s/he enjoys it. Confining costumes can cause stress and injury to pets if it restricts their movement, hearing or ability to breathe, bark or see. Small, dangling pieces may be chewed off and cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Never leave your costumed pets unsupervised.

Make sure your pets are properly identified. In case of accidental escape, a collar, tag and microchip are your best bet your animal will make it home. Frequently-opened doors provide a great opportunity for animals, especially cats, to run out of the house unnoticed. If you observe an animal in immediate distress or danger at Halloween or any time, please contact the OHS Emergency Animal Protection Services at 613-725-1532.

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