October 28, 2010

Help Your Dog have a Safe Halloween

Filed under: Halloween — Dr. Amber Reed @ 2:49 pm

Halloween is quickly approaching and while the holiday promises loads of fun for the whole family, there are potential dangers that can compromise the health of your beloved pets.  Indeed, during Halloween dogs face increased risks as well as more stress than other times of the year.  Whether we are talking about the abundance of candy and wrappers in the house or the noise and commotion caused by Halloween visitors, this time of year requires dog owners to take extra care.

Tricks and treats can be a source of anxiety for your dog during the Halloween season.  Fireworks and the constant queue of visiting children can be scary for a dog.  Owners with dogs that are prone to anxiety when they are around strangers should keep their dogs in a safe and comfortable environment.  Not only can normal humans frighten a dog, but when they are dressed up the scare factor is certainly kicked up a notch.  Plus, the loud noise from exploding fireworks and firecrackers is certain to freak out even the calmest dogs.  As such, you should keep your dog in an interior room of the house where he is sheltered from the noise and the visitors.

Beyond the festivities of the day, Halloween also brings a bunch of treats into the house.  Dogs will be curious and have been known to get into the kids treats.  Unfortunately, human treats are often toxic to dogs.  Chocolate and artificial sweeteners like xylitol (often found in gum) are highly toxic and can even be life threatening to dogs.  To be safe, make sure you keep these candies well out of reach and that you dispose of wrappers and packaging effectively.  Every Halloween, dogs are subject to the risk of choking, upset stomach, or gastrointestinal blockage because they consume candies or discarded wrappers.  You may even want to keep some dog treats around so your beloved pet doesn’t feel left out!

October 27, 2010

Cats and Halloween

Filed under: Halloween — Dr. Amber Reed @ 2:35 pm

While black cats are a ubiquitous symbol of Halloween, the holiday poses extra dangers to a pet cat and owners should be vigilant to protect their cats.  Apart from the obvious Halloween risk factors like fireworks and constant visitors, Halloween is also a time where cats, black cats in particular, face serious dangers including violence.

First of all, many local animal shelters and rescues have recently banned the practice of adopting black cats in the weeks before Halloween.  In the past couple of decades, black cat adoptions before Halloween have risen dramatically with many of these cats being returned to the shelter shortly after the holiday.  Obviously, adopting a pet cat for the sake of enhancing a costume or as an accessory to a haunted house only to return it within a few weeks is cruel behavior; but the fact is that this is often the least of a black cat’s problems.  During the month of October, black cats are often the victim of physical violence and torture and while statistics on the problem are lacking many vets recommend keeping cats indoors over the Halloween holiday.

Still, even without being subject to this kind of cruel behavior, cats face other risks during the holidays.  The constant explosion of fireworks in combination with the line of kids ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety in even the most well adjusted cat.  Loud noises and constant visitors will likely scare your cat into hiding.  Obviously its best to keep your cat inside on Halloween night but many pet owners go one step further by securing their cats in an interior room of the house.  This can shelter them from noise and keep anxiety to a minimum.  Finally, if you have trick-or-treating children in the house you must also take care to store candy away from your pets to prevent them from eating the candy and becoming ill.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.