Halloween is loads of fun for adults and kids, but the spooky holiday can be a bit dangerous for the four-legged members of our families. To address these perils, the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has issued some simple guidelines to keep our pets safe on Halloween.
We present these guideline below, with a some additional info and a few thoughts of our own.
1. Keep your dogs and cats away from the front door. Pets may become frightened from all the trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell and may dart outside through the open door when you’re handing out candy. Additionally, your dog may feel the need to protect his or her home and owner and bite the bizarre looking visitors—imagine what your pooch is thinking seeing all these ghouls, ghosts and goblins!
3. Do not allow your pets to eat trick-or-treat candies which may be poisonous or harm them. Chocolate is especially bad for dogs and cats: It contains a stimulant, caffeine-like alkaloid called “theobromine” that dogs, cats and horses cannot metabolize in the same way humans can. Small amount of chocolate will cause stomach upset, vomiting and/or diarrhea, but larger quantities of theobromine can cause your pet to suffer muscle tremors, seizure, irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack. Theobromine poisoning can be recognized by sudden hyperactivity in your dog or cat. Get them to a vet immediately!
4. Do not use candles to illuminate Halloween pumpkins—your dum-dum dog or cat could tip them over and cause a fire. (And if your pet burns down your home, you might be forced to injure or kill him yourself!)
5. Halloween decorations should be kept out of pets’ reach. Items like fake spider webbing and balloons can be deadly if swallowed.
6. Don’t dress your pet in a costume unless you know he loves it. This may put added stress on the animal. If you do, make sure the costume isn’t constricting or unsafe. Do not obstruct vision and be sure there is no risk of strangulation by novelty headdresses placed on your pet. Remove costume from pet when unattended. Pets generally enjoy dressing as Chewbacca, Canadian wrestling great Brett the Hitman Hart and any sexy version of a blue collar or professional job uniform—as long as they fit within the previously listed safety parameters.
7. Be sure your pet has proper identification on at all times, in case she does get out the door. Collars work best for carrying identification since pets rarely wear pants with pockets or use a purse.
8. Know your veterinarian’s number and keep it listed with your other emergency numbers. Being able to react quickly in an emergency could save your pets life! See guidelines 3 and 5.
Report any acts of animal cruelty or neglect to the Suffolk County SPCA at 631 382-7722. All calls are kept confidential.
For more info about the Suffolk SPCA or to donate, visit suffolkspca.org.