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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping Your Dogs Safe at Halloween

Keep your pets safe this Halloween (courtesy of the BCSPCA)
October 21, 2010

Don’t let the ghosts, ghouls and goblins get to your pet this Halloween.

“While Halloween is fun for trick-or-treaters, it can be a scary and dangerous time for both pets and farm animals,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

Loud noises in the neighbourhood, constant door-knocking and fireworks outside may spook companion pets, causing them to dart into traffic or even jump through windows.

Frightened farm animals have even been known to run into barbed-wire fences or other obstructions.

“With a little planning, guardians can take steps to keep their pets safe on Halloween,” says Chortyk.

The BC SPCA offers these seasonal tips:

Keep pets inside
Pets who are inside have fewer opportunities to confront trick-or-treaters. Some pets do well left in a separate room with the radio or television on to mask the sound of fireworks and trick-or-treaters. Be sure to leave plenty of toys in the room for your pet so that he doesn’t think he’s being isolated as a punishment. If your pet finds the doorbell disturbing, consider disconnecting the doorbell for the night. Alternatively, you can leave a bowl of treats near the door outside where trick-or-treaters can help themselves. That way, they won’t knock or ring the doorbell – at least not until the bowl is emptied.

Make sure your pet is wearing identification. Dogs and cats may try to run away if they feel threatened. Clear, current identification is your best chance to have them returned to you

Don’t console your anxious pet
While it is natural to want to comfort your pet, it is better to use a bright, cheerful voice to send a message that things are fine. Avoid saying things like, “it’s OK” or “don’t be scared” in a soft or sympathetic voice. This only reinforces your pet’s fearful behaviour.

Candy is for people
Candy can lead to health problems such as diabetes or obesity, and chocolate is especially dangerous because it contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and cats. Keep treats well away from your pets.

Leave home without them
If you think it would be fun to bring your pet trick-or-treating, your pet may not share your view. The strange sights and sounds of Halloween can cause a normally friendly dog to bite if it feels scared or threatened.

Keep away from costumes for your pet
Dressing your dog in a costume inhibits his ability to communicate, making him prone to display aggression himself or be subjected to aggressive behaviour from other dogs.

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