Keeping your pet safe at Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en can be a stressful and dangerous time for pets, what with the sweet treats everywhere, scary strangers calling to the door, and bangers and bonfires aplenty.

With this in mind, Athlone Animal Welfare have released a number of tips to help keep your pet out of trouble and safe from harm this weekend.

1. No tricks, no treats: Treats are for trick-or-treaters, not furry or feathered friends! Chocolate in all forms - especially dark or baking chocolate - can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination, and heart rate - and even seizures.

Sweets containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination, and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.

Ingesting tin foil and cellophane sweet wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.

2. Popular Hallowe’en plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are swallowed.

3. Keep wires and cords from electric lights or other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could be hurt by shards of glass or plastic, or receive a harmful electric shock.

4. Take care if lighting candles or carving a pumpkin and adding a candle to it. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up isn’t much fun for some pets and can cause a lot of distress. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress your pet up, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark, or meow. If your pet seems distressed, allergic, or shows abnormal behaviour in the costume, remove it and let them go ‘au naturel’ or maybe wear a festive bandana.

6. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers, especially ones in costume, can be scary and stressful for pets. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

7. Fireworks and bonfires can cause extreme distress to animals so please try and keep your pet indoors or in a secure and safe environment over Hallowe’en.

8. Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If your pet escapes and gets lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you.


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