Last week I offered Part 1 of tips for handling Halloween Hazards- all tips begin with an "I" for "I'll keep you safe." This week's "I" tips are equally important and are specific to the eve of Halloween itself!
I is for Indoors once again!
All companion animals should be kept securely indoors on Halloween. It is important to get animals inside while it is still light and to keep them in for the full night. Cats should definitely be secured indoors a few nights before Halloween.
With doorbells ringing, front doors and gates being opened by sticky little hands and strangers everywhere, it is essential that even the most obediant animals be secured in an area of the house that does not allow them to escape. It is far too tempting and the temptaion alone can cause stress. All of the monster faces can also shake a companion animal's sense of security and illicit territorial reactions that are otherwise uncommon for that animal to exhibit. Our furry friends are naturally protective of their homes and they need not be subjected to the added stress of having to protect it or you.
Additionally, even though fireworks are illegal in many places, there is invariably a local 'Dennis the menace' lighting a few off which spooks even the most secure critter to run for cover.
While it may be fun to show a costumed Fido to trick or treaters- it's simply not worth it as he may be spooked to nip or run. It's best to set up a comfy room, or gated area, for the fur kids- even crate them if they are used to this. Play the TV, radio, a white noise machine or better yet, play soothing music- they actually make some that is specifically for relaxing animals. Sometimes adding a scent like lavender in a safe manner (that cannot be ingested) can help calm nerves too.
Make sure cats have access to a clean litter pan and cannot get out of windows. Be sure to safeguard against any fire hazards like candles or electric lights that animals might chew when nervous. Check on them throughout the evening and be sure to leave safe toys or chews that keep them stimulated and distracted. Low light is soothing as well.
I for Ingesting:
This is a biggie. Halloween is full of hidden hazardous temptations. And many of the items an animal might ingest are far more toxic than one might realize.
Helping to avoid a potential ingestion, by not even having these items in the house, is the best bet- and being prepared with information on a local 24-hour emergency veterinarian is key. Time is of the essence if there is an accidental ingestion.
Some Halloween toxins to be aware of:
-Anything with Xylitol, an artificial sweetener in many gums, candies and baked goods, is extremely toxic
-Glow sticks and glow jewelry are very tempting for animals (especially cats) to chew on. They are toxic and unsafe to have around animals.
-Decorations and costumes that have materials like webbing or stockings can be hazardous and cause obstructions if swallowed.
-Candy wrappers are often eaten by companion animals and can cause serious problems.
-Any ingestion of a large amount of sugar can be dangerous to animals.
I know you all love your furry little goblins and want to keep them safe- so stay informed, be prepared and do your best to avoid being caught off guard!
Dr. Pia Salk