Halloween Safety Tips for
Halloween can be a frightening time for family dogs. Each Halloween,
veterinarians nationwide see pet injuries that could have been avoided.
Here are some ways we can protect pets:
Walk your dog before trick-or-treaters start their visits. Keep a
firm grip on the leash; many dogs are frightened by people in costumes.
Find a secure place in your home to keep your dogs, especially if
you're giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Many dogs get loose when
the door opens, and the presence of little (and big) costumed people
often scares animals, increasing the chance dogs will run away or get
hit by cars.
Make sure your dog is wearing an up-to-date I.D. tag.
Place a dog gate in front of your front door to block access in
case someone accidentally lets your pet out of the place where he's
confined. Many dogs will run after trick-or-treaters.
If your dog has any aggressive tendencies, fear of loud noises, or
a habit of excessive barking, place him in a quiet room as far away from
your front door as possible at least a half-hour before
Consider crating your pet, which can make him feel more secure and
reduce chances of accidental escapes. Provide chew toys, a favorite
blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, or whatever comforts
the animal. Play soft music or a recording of soothing sounds.
If you want to have your dog near the door to greet visitors, keep
him on leash. Pets can become very stressed by holiday activities and
unwelcome interruptions in routine. A nervous dog might feel threatened
and growl, lunge or bite.
Keep dogs indoors. It's a bad idea to leave dogs out in the yard;
in addition to the parade of holiday celebrants frightening and
agitating them, there have been reports of taunting, poisonings and pet
thefts. Plus they're likely to bark and howl at the constant flow of
treat or treaters.
As for cats, as the ASPCA and other organizations advise, keep cats
indoors at all times.
Do not leave dogs in cars.
Keep dogs out of the candy bowl. Dispose of candy wrappers before
your pets get to them, since the wrappers can cause choking or
intestinal obstruction. Make sure the dogs can't get into the trash.
Note: Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and
even death in dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it
is -- and the smaller the lethal dose.
Explain to everyone in your home (including kids) how dangerous
treats are to pets. Take young childrenUs candy supply and put it
somewhere out of reach of pets. Caution children about leaving candy
wrappers on the floor.
Make sure pets can't reach candles, jack-o-lanterns, decorations or
Halloween costumes can annoy animals and pose safety and health
hazards...so think twice before dressing up the dog. Make sure the dog
can breathe, see and hear, and that the costume is flame retardant.
Remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed and
swallowed. Avoid rubber bands, which can cut off the animal's
circulation or, if accidentally left on, can burrow and cut into the
If the animal is very high-strung, consult your vet about
tranquilizing for the night.
When walking dogs during or after Halloween, watch carefully for
what they might pick up and choke on. Bits of candy and wrappers abound
on sidewalks and streets after holidays.
* If you notice these symptoms of chocolate poisoning, go to your vet
or an emergency vet right away because your pet's life may be in danger:
here if your dog has eaten some chocolate
*First Aid Kit and Guidance:
Keep a pet First Aid Kit in your home and car. Take the one you keep in
your car with you on trips with your pet. This webpage lists items to
CPR and Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation:
Print these life-saving brochures to have on hand!
Please remember your pets count on you for
their safety in emergency situations. They cannot fend for
themselves. Treat them as you would any other member of your
family. Here are a few valuable tips from ASPCA.
Emergency Pet Preparedness
Hurricanes, wildfires, flood...if disaster
strikes, are you prepared to protect your pets? A few simple
steps can help ensure you won't be caught off guard.
Display a Rescue Alert Sticker - A personalized sticker on your
front door alerts rescue worker to the type and number of pets
indoors. For a free sticker, visit the ASPCA website at
Arrange a Safe Haven - Should you need to evacuate, have a list of
reputable boarding kennels, shelters or local hotels that accept
pets or arrange ahead to bring your pets to a friend's home. Red
Cross disaster shelters will not accept pets.
Prepare an Emergency Travel Kit - Store an emergency kit and leashed
near your home's exit. Include a pet first-aid kit; a two week
supply of pet food, water, pet medications, food dished,
disposable litter trays and photos of your pets (in case your pet is
lost and you need to make posters). A flashlight, blanket (handy for
scooping up fearful pets) and a carrier or traveling case are also
Choose a Designated Caregiver - Give a set of house keys ahead of
time to a trusted friend or neighbor in case you're unable to return
home to your pets. Arrange for a temporary or long-term foster home
in case you cannot care for your pets.
Prepare Your Pets - Collars and tags with up-to-date contact
information are essential for all pets. Bring pets indoors at the
first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Should your animal
become lost, know where your local shelters and rescue organizations
are located and start looking for a missing pet as soon as possible.
Prepare Your Home:
For high winds: Utility rooms, bathrooms
and basements offer safe havens clear of such hazards as windows
or flying debris.
For loss of electricity: Fill up bathtubs
and sinks with fresh water ahead of time.
For flooding: Select the highest room in
you home that has a counter or shelves where your pet can take
information, to make donations or to report animal cruelty visit the
ASPCA Web site at
Keep Your Pets Safe During Winter
Keep your cat inside.
Outdoors, cats can freeze, become lost or be stolen,
injured or killed
During the winter,
outdoor cats sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars.
motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by
the fan belt. Before starting the engine, bang loudly on
the car hood to give the cat a chance to escape.
Never let your dog off
the leash on snow or ice, especially during a
snowstorm--dogs can lose their scent and easily become
lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during
any other season, so make sure they always wear I.D.
Thoroughly wipe off your
dog's legs and stomach when he comes in out of the
sleet, snow or ice. He can ingest salt, antifreeze or
other chemicals while licking his paws, and his paw pads
may also bleed from snow or encrusted ice.
Own a short-haired breed?
Consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high
collar or turtleneck that covers the dog from the base
of the tail on top to the belly underneath. While this
may seem like a luxury, it is a necessity for many dogs.
Never leave your dog or
cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as
a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold. The
animal can freeze to death. If your dog is sensitive to
the cold due to age, illness or breed type, take him
outdoors only to relieve himself.
Puppies do not tolerate
the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to
housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper train
your puppy inside if he appears to be sensitive to the
If your dog spends a lot
of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase his
supply of food, particularly protein, to keep his fur
thick and healthy.
Antifreeze, even in very
tiny doses is a lethal poison for dogs and cats.
Unfortunately, because of its sweet taste, animals are
attracted to it. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any
spills from your vehicle. To prevent accidental
poisoning; more and more people are using animal
friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather
than traditional products containing ethylene glycol.
Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison
Control Center (1-888-4ANI-HELP) if you suspect your
animal has been poisoned
During the winter time
dogs and cats need just as much water as during the
summertime. Make sure water bowls are not frozen over
and never assume they can get their water needs met by
Summertime can be dangerous time to travel with your pet, as the
risk of heatstroke is increased. Pets should never be left alone in a
completely enclosed car for ANY period of time. Here are some common signs
of heatstroke to look out for:
If you think your pet is suffering from heatstroke, take steps to
cool him down immediately. Apply a cool, wet towel to his body and keep
him out of sunlight. Give him small doses of water. Even if you pet
appears to recover, take him to a veterinarian immediately. A qualified
doctor will take the necessary steps to make sure your pet is fully
Dangers for your Pet
Store space heater when they're not in use. Do not let your pet
learn to trust a cool heater. The next time the animal approaches, it
may get burned.
Screen fireplaces to shield pets that curl up beside them from
Put mesh covering on electric fans to keep curious noses and paws
Don't leave sewing supplies lying around. Frequently a pet will
start to play with thread and end up swallowing a needle. NEVER pull
on a thread that's dangling from your pet's mouth. If a needle is
swallowed, you can do major damage to your pet by trying to pull on
it. Call your vet immediately.
Watch for dropped rubber bands and broken balloon pieces around
the house, some animals find these things intriguing and may swallow
them. They can get lodged in their throats or cause intestinal
Dishes soaking in a sink of hot, sudsy water may result in
serious burns for an inquisitive cat or detergent poisoning for a
"If is smells, eat it" is the golden rule among pets,
especially dogs. They not only get sick when they eat spoiled food and
garbage, but they can also choke on scraps of tinfoil, cellophane,
etc. Bones from fish, chicken and other foods can perforate a
pet's intestines or become lodged in their throats. Be sure all your
garbage is stored in pet-proof containers, inside and outside the
If you use automatic toilet-bowl cleaners, keep toilet lids down
to be sure your pet doesn't drink from the bowl.
Both dogs and cats munch grass from time to time, but serious
illness can be the consequence if your lawn has been treated with
chemicals. Also, insecticide that you pet ingests when it licks
paws after an outdoor romp is no less toxic than if it were drunk from
the container. If your lawn is cared for by professionals, be certain
that they know you have a pet.
Many common garden plants are poisonous when pets eat them,
including azaleas, oleander, rhododendrons, daffodils and even
buttercups. Be sure to look into all aspects of a plant before
planting them in your garden.
Antifreeze, battery acid and paint remover are three common and
particularly poisonous substances that seem to smell appetizing to
pets. Store all three in tight containers out of your pet's reach and
be sure to do a thorough cleanup after you finish working with any of
them. Antifreeze puddles on driveways or in garages cause the deaths
of numerous pets annually.
Keep tackle boxes closed and latched. Bright lures, hooks and
fishing line can attract cats as well as fish.
Don't allow pet birds in the kitchen. Heat, open containers of
hot water (on the stove or sink) and smoke can all be health threats.
Cover all glass, especially mirrors, if your bird is permitted
outside his/her cage. Birds sometimes assume windows and mirrors are open
spaces and fly into them.
Don't spray fishbowls or aquariums, even on the outside, with
glass cleaner that contains ammonium. Vapors can rise and settle back
into the bowl or tank, poisoning your fish. Instead, spray the clean
on a cloth well away from the water, and then wipe the glass clean.
Don't put tap water directly into your aquarium or fishbowl. The
chlorine in it can be deadly to fish. Purchase dechlorinating pellets
or allow water to sit overnight before adding it to your fish tank.
Also, beware of water that's artificially softened. Its salt content
may be exceptionally high.
Take care when using a household spray or insecticide. Remove
birds from the room and cover your aquarium with plastic or some other
nonpermeable material until all the spray has settled.
There are some of those that are under the impression that animals
know instinctively to avoid poisons. This is false. They don't, no more
than a small child. It is up to us to ensure their safety.
Plants: Many common plants, including houseplants, can be deadly.
For example, Philodendron is extremely dangerous to cats. Crocus,
daffodil and hyacinth bulbs are poisonous as are tomato plants and the
berries of mistletoe.
Some of the symptoms of poisoning are:
Cats will immediately lose interest in their food
Both cats and dogs may become lethargic
They may drool an unnatural amount
Have trouble walking
Ultimately they will go into convulsions
Depression, unaccountable excitability, diarrhea and shock are
You can tell an animal is going into shock by pressing the
animal's gum with your finger. The pink will turn grayish white; when
more than a coup of seconds pass before normal color returns, it usually
means the onset of shock. An animal in shock will have a weak, rapid
pulse and dilated pupils. Under these conditions, do not give anything
by mouth. Start artificial respiration if necessary, keep the victim
warm and rush him to the veterinarian. Below is a list of common poisons and the first-aid steps to take
until professional help is available. Let's hope you never need to
Corrosive acid: Do no induce vomiting. Give milk or water to
dilute poison, even if you must force it on the pet. Give orally
baking soda, milk of magnesia or some other mild alkaline
substance. Finish the treatment by getting as much edible oil
(salad oil, olive oil) and/or egg white into the animal as you
can. (at least one ounce of oil per 20 pounds of body weight).
Corrosive Alkali: Do not induce vomiting. Give water or milk to
dilute poison. Give a mild acid--Vinegar, lemon, lime or even orange
juice. As above, finish the treatment with edible oil or egg whites.
Fungicides, herbicides, Insecticides, Most Household Cleaning
Agents, Medicines, Lead, Moth balls, Rodenticides, Turpentine,
Poisonous Plants and when in doubt as long as you're sure it wasn't
a petroleum product, or an acid or an alkali of corrosive
strength: Dilute with milk or water. Induce vomiting with hydrogen
peroxide, ipecac syrup or table salt (use salt for adult animals
only). Read the labels, if available and use the recommended
Holiday Safety for
Curious pets are inclined to eat everything in sight-even if it's
as indigestible as a tree ornament. Your pet could get sick or die from
Sharp objects: Toothpicks, ornament hooks and bottle caps are
just as harmful as chicken bones. And when the toothpick is meatball
flavored or hook is attached to a candy cane, it's hard for your pet
Large objects: Corks, small toys, tree decorations and fruit
pits may be small enough for your pet to swallow, but too big to
Stringy objects: The normal twisting of the gut causes long,
thin objects to stuck in an animal's intestine. In addition to such
year-round hazards as foil, plastic wrap and dental floss, watch out
for tinsel, ribbon, yarn and string used for popcorn or cranberry
garlands. A mere 4 inches can be life threatening to your pet.
Food and Plant hazards: Poinsettia and Jerusalem cherry plants
are poisonous to animals. And chocolate Santas can dehydrate your
dog and make him vomit. Hook edible ornaments high on your tree and
skip the toothpicks (USE PRETZEL STICKS INSTEAD) on the hors
d'oeuvres unless you're sure you can keep Rover out of harm's way.
If your pet does eat one of the above, call your vet immediately.
Rinse alcohol from drink glasses. If ingested, alcohol can make
dogs, cats and birds violently ill.
Keep birds away from avocados; the coating on the pit is toxic
to some species.
Keep chocolate away from dogs and birds. Even a small amount
can be toxic.
Secure garage bags tightly to keep leftover bones, meat and
roasting twine out of reach.
Traveling with Pets
If you want to take your pet on a car trip, first take it for
short rides; increase the time on each subsequent trip so it gets
used to the car.
If your pet is traveling in a carrier, put some of its favorite
toys inside to make it feel more secure. Or line the traveling
container with an old sweater of yours-- the familiar smell will
comfort the animal.
Don't feed you pet for six hours before a car trip. If it has a
tendency to car sickness, try to avoid giving even water for two
hours before you leave home.
When you travel with you pet in a car, bring along a plastic freezer
container of frozen water. As you travel, the water will thaw and
your pet will have a fresh, cool drink ready.
If possible, carry water from home for your pet. The different
mineral content of water in a new location could give it diarrhea.
When traveling with a dog, make sure
he/she is on a leash before you
get out of the care at your destination. Otherwise, it may get
overexcited and jump out of the car and, possibly, get hit by
If you're traveling with a cat, keep the carrier firmly closed
and don't release the cat until you get indoors. If the cat panics
and jumps out of the car in a strange place, you'll have little
chance of finding it again.
Before traveling with a pet, let the animal get used to the pet
carrier. Leave the carrier out where the animal can smell it,
explore it and sleep in it.