(CHILLICOTHE, Ohio, October 25, 2012) – Halloween can be a fun holiday for families and their pets. Children and adults love dressing up their pets and showing them off to family and friends. However, Petland asks that pet owners are aware of potential dangers to their pets in order to keep this holiday safe and fun for their four-legged family members.
“At Petland, we educate our customers on potential dangers so that they can keep their pets safe while still including them in the fun this Halloween,” said Elizabeth Kunzelman, director of communication, Petland, Inc.
While the ghouls and goblins that come knocking on our door Halloween night are part of the fun for us, our pets may feel differently. Strange and unusual sights and sounds can scare your pet. Although it may be tempting to dress your pet in a costume and walk them through the neighborhood on Trick or Treat night, Petland recommends that you keep your pet inside, out of harm’s way.
“Ideally, the pet should be secluded in a quiet room while the Halloween festivities go on,” said Kunzelman. “Not only will this help your pet stay calm, but you also avoid the possibility of your pet escaping or becoming aggressive towards unfamiliar surroundings.”
If you plan on walking your pet outside on Halloween, Petland asks responsible pet owners to remember a few key safety tips.
“Keep your pet on a shorter than normal leash in order to keep them away from costumed children and other pets,” said Kunzelman, adding that pet owners should walk their pets during the daylight hours instead of after dark. Make sure that your pet is wearing an ID tag so they can be returned if they do manage to get away.
Keep pets inside, secure candy wrappers
Jack O’Lanterns and candles are common sights during the Halloween season. Petland asks pet owners to use caution with fire as your pet could knock these items over or burn themselves. Many other Halloween decorations and candy wrappers can be dangerous for both cats and dog if swallowed or eaten so exercise caution and supervision if these items are present in your home.
Supervise costumed pets
Pet owners love to dress up their pets all year round, especially during Halloween. Petland says to pay close attention to their pets while they are dressed up to avoid any harm.
“Make sure the costume fits well and is not too tight. Avoid using tight elastics like rubber bands. These products can restrict blood flow and become tangled in the fur,” said Kunzelman. “Most importantly, never leave a costumed pet unsupervised. Your pet may chew on the outfit. If pieces of a costume are ingested, this can make the pet very ill. They can also get tangled in ribbons or ties and hurt themselves.”
Protect black cats from age-old superstitions
Cats have been given many mystical powers through the years. History and superstition have linked felines to witchcraft, making the cat the most likely pet to be talked about on October 31. Specifically, the black cat, is a black mark according to many cultural superstitions.
Petland reminds people that superstitions are irrational beliefs in particular things or circumstances. Usually, there is very little, if any truth to superstitions. However, these beliefs can cause good people to make bad choices, including harming a pet at Halloween.
“If you own a black cat you should keep your pet inside during the entire month of October,” said Kunzelman. “If you see anyone abusing a pet this Halloween, please contact the proper local authorities.”
Chocolate not safe for pets; offer safe substitutes
With the large amount of candy in many homes during Halloween, Petland says that pet owners should not share any candy, especially chocolate, with their furry friends, as it can be toxic to both cats and dogs.
Chocolate contains theobromine. It is a substance that is easily digested by humans, but can, in large quantities, be fatal to pets. Ten ounces of milk chocolate and even less of unsweetened baking chocolate can qualify as a lethal dose for small pets, especially those weighing 20 pounds or less.
Symptoms such as severe stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing and even seizures can strike a pet after ingesting chocolate. Call your vet if your pet has eaten any chocolate and is experiencing any of these symptoms.
“A handful of chocolate candies could be deadly to your best friend. Giving a pet chocolate is not worth the risk of illness,” said Kunzelman. “If your pet accidentally gets into some chocolate and you don’t know how much it has eaten, call your veterinarian immediately.”
You don’t have to leave your pet out of the Halloween fun however. Many treats, advertised as “chocolaty” for pets, are made of pet-safe carob.
By following these easy pet care guidelines, Halloween can be fun and safe for all members of your family.