At this time of year, Veterinarians treat pets for injuries and illnesses both major and minor which can be all the more heartbreaking due to the fact that most could be prevented with a few simple precautions.
When asked for advice, the first this I always say is: KNOW YOUR OWN PET. Is she/he stressed by loud noises? Gets over excited with all the comings and going and door bell ringing? Steal food or maybe just help himself when no one is looking? Typically eat things or chew on things that are not food? Hide? Run away when afraid?
On Hallowe’en night most of us are distracted and we may not be paying as much attention to the family pet(s) as we normally would do. Thinking about their comfort and safety in advance can take everyone’s anxiety down a notch or two!
Typical Hallowe’en mishaps fall into two general categories:
- SICKNESS due to eating something toxic or inedible Think: Chocolate, candies, wrappers, decorations, glow sticks, parts of costumes. Click on these two links for more detailed tips: Pet Poison Hotline, and Foreign Body Ingestion in Pets.
- INJURIES. Most pets become anxious due to the incessant knocking and door bell ringing, laughter and chatter and the many strange looking costumes at the door. Some pets hide but others may bolt out into the night, jump out of their owners arms or just become frantic. Learn more here about pet anxiety and phobias.
If you know your dog will eat just about anything then the whole family needs to do their extra due diligence to make sure all treats and decorations are kept out of reach (do you hear me LABRADOR RETRIEVER owners?).
If you know your pet is stressed by the door bell, even though you want to show off his costume to the neighbours, I ask you to please re-think this and instead allow him to spend the evening in a “safe room” away from the action or somewhere at the back of your home where it is quieter. And please make sure all your pets are INSIDE and never left unattended outside…..even in your back yard.
Speaking of costumes: Most are cute and most are safe. However, any costume that restricts movement because it is tight fitting or has too many strings and sashes can cause injuries and should be avoided.
Enjoy a safe and Happy Hallowe’en from all of us at Royal York Animal Hospital! Dr. John