Friday, October 24, 2014

Howl-O-Ween Safety Tips

This Saturday, October 25th, I'll be on the Real Estate show at 8am on CKPM 98.7 FM talking about Halloween safety for pets! Halloween is one my favourite times of year, but there are lots of potential safety hazards.

Of course, I love Halloween candy, but chocolate, as we all know, is not safe for our pets to eat. If your pet accidentally eats chocolate, phone your veterinarian right away, with the amount and type of chocolate, to determine if a toxic dose was ingested.

Fletcher has always loved October
We also need to be cautious with candles, either in Jack-o-Lanterns or around the house. Pets could accidentally start a fire or injure themselves with the flame. Scented candles can also trigger breathing issues in some dogs and cats, so please be careful.

On Halloween night, pets should be confined to a room away from the door, with special toys or treats to keep them occupied. A Kong toy stuffed with their regular food makes a fun way for them to eat dinner. Pets should be brought indoors by 4pm on the 31st, and only taken outside for potty breaks on leash. Dogs and cats may be spooked by noises or scary costumes, and may escape through an open door or even over a fence. Make sure everyone is wearing their collars and ID tags; you can also speak to your veterinarian about permanent identification in the form of a tattoo or microchip.

Fireworks may also frighten pets this time of year. Again, keep your pet confined indoors to a small room and consider playing the radio or tv on a relaxing station to help drown out noise. Some pets may benefit from wearing a Thundershirt. This is a tight t-shirt that provides a calming effect for some animals. Thundershirts are available online and at many pet stores. Our clinic also carries a product called Feliway, which is a happy cat pheromone, that sends a chemical signal to your cat that he or she is safe and secure. This can be used in a room diffuser or as a spray. There is also a version for dogs called Adaptil. Please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian to discuss keeping your pets happy during fireworks, as there are medications we can use for more severe cases. 

Me and Tiki, dressed as Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin
One last note, costumes are only for pets who enjoy them! My own dogs don’t mind being dressed up, but we always make it a positive experience with lots of treats. All of us at Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital wish you and your pets a safe and happy Howl-o-Ween.