Halloween can be a fun and exciting time for families with children but please spare a moment to think about your pets and the potential hazards at this time of year.
We all know that sweets are not good for our pets but it is worth remembering that chocolate is especially toxic to dogs even in small quantities (depending on the type of chocolate) and can cause symptoms ranging from mild excitement and tremors to vomiting, diarrhoea and collapse.
Sweets, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to our pets and can cause rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species such as ferrets.
Lollipop sticks can also cause obstructions if they are swallowed whole
Strangers at the door wearing scary costumes
This can be very stressful for some pets and both cats and dogs may become worked up by the constant knocking on the front door. Some dogs may also become unexpectedly fearful or show aggression when faced with these very odd looking people. Make sure that your pets have a safe and quiet place to retreat to when the trick or treating starts. If you are going to dress up your dog and have him great the visitors make sure you monitor him or her for signs of distress.
Pumpkins, Candles and Lanterns
These can be a fire risk if they are knocked over by a wagging tail or a scared cat so be wary of where they are placed around the home.
Dressing up your pets
Halloween costumes can look great on our pets and there are certainly lots of costumes available to buy but before you dress up your pet you should consider the following:
- A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.
- Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and possibly pain or infection.
- Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and eat it, which may cause an internal obstruction.
- If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.
Bottom line – if your pet enjoys being dressed up that’s brilliant but, if he or she looks uncomfortable or just sits/lies in one place you should remove the costume.
Happy Halloween from Castle Vets
It is almost November and the fireworks season is fast approaching us. Here are a few tips to help you calm your pet during the firework season.
- Provide a den or hiding place where your pet can feel safe. This can be a simple as a bed behind the sofa or a blanket over a table that your pet can lie under.
- Ignore fearful behaviour, such a panting, shaking and whining. Dogs may pick up on their owner’s anxiety which could make the problem worse.
- In the run up to Bonfire Night walk your dog when it is still light outside. This reduces the possibility of fireworks being set off and your dog becoming worried.
- Make sure all windows, doors and cat flaps are securely closed during fireworks night. This will reduce the chances of your pets escaping.
- Provide distractions, for example new toys, chews or try to play a game of fetch or tug with your dog, while fireworks are happening.
- Draw curtains and switch on the TV to mask the noise from the fireworks. You can also leave a radio playing in the kitchen to block out some of the noise.
- DO NOT punish your pet if he soils in the house or gets destructive. This will only make your pet more distressed.
- Try to exercise your dog well before dark as this will decrease the chances of fireworks going off while you are out on a walk.
- Feed your dog a slightly higher carbohydrate meal (just add some boiled rice to your dog’s normal food) this will help make them feel sleepy.
- Try not to leave your pets alone while fireworks are going off, pets will be more relaxed when they have a familiar person with them during this time.
You can increase your dog’s feeling of security by using Adaptil – a calming pheromone This comes as a diffuser that you plug in as close to the den or hiding place as possible, or you can put an Adaptil collar on your dog so he will have the benefit of the pheromone where ever he goes. You should start using Adaptil at least a week before fireworks are expected if possible.
You can help your cat feel more secure by using a Feliway diffuser in your home. Feliway is a synthetic copy of the familiarisation facial pheromone that cats use to mark objects in their environment. It helps cats naturally cope with stressful situations and stops unwanted cat behaviour.
Don’t forget smaller pets that live outside. Cover hutches, pens and aviaries with blankets so that they are well sound-proofed. Provide extra bedding for your pets so that they have something to burrow in.
Please contact us if you are worried that your pet is fearful of fireworks as there are things we can do to help.