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Animal Safety Tips During Halloween

With trick-or-treating, costume parties and Halloween around the corner, the Humane Society of Washington County (HSWC) would like to provide pet owners with safety tips for this spooky time of year.

Here are some suggestions from HSWC and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to keep your pets safe throughout Halloween celebrations.

  1. Lock candy safely away. A dog’s keen sense of smell (and sometime even a cat’s!) will lead him/her to the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact a veterinary professional immediately if your pet gets into candy, especially if it contains chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol.
  2. Don’t leave glow sticks lying around. Glow sticks are used to keep kids safe while they are out in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find these glow sticks to be a lot of fun as well. While most glow sticks are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste. Pets who bite into them may drool and race around the house. While a little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction, you should still notify your veterinarian and confirm that it is safe to just watch your pet for any reactions.
  3. Keep your pet identified and visible. There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. Bring your dogs and cats inside. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he/she wears a reflective collar, is securely leashed, and has proper identification on the collar.
  4. Calm your pet. Even pets who are kept indoors may experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from trick-or-treaters may help them stay calm. Consider sitting outside of your house to greet trick-or-treaters so that constant doorbell ringing and knocking doesn’t become an issue for your pet.
  5. Check those costumes. If you are planning on dressing up your pet, ensure that the costume fits well and isn’t going to slip and entangle your pet or cause a choking hazard if chewed on. Never leave a costumed pet unattended. If you’re unsure how your pet will react, you may just want to consider a fun collar or bandana as an alternative to a costume.