- The increase in activity causes most pets to go into red alert–door bells ringing and knocks on the door combined with more activity in the house can rattle many pet’s nerves.
- The spooky altered appearance of friends, family members and strangers startles many pets who may have a high drive to protect the home and your family.
- Halloween decorations and goodies can be toxic–candy wrappers, candles and chocolate are dangerous for dogs.
- Not all pets enjoy dressing up for Halloween. You can tell if they’re stressed by the costume if they look uncomfortable, sheepish, or resistant. Best not to force them to wear a costume.
Tips for keeping pets safe:
1. For Scardy Cats. Keep pets in a quiet and secured room away from the festivities. Check on your pets regularly and offer comfort them when they seek it. Forcing attention on your pets may add to their stress. Allow him or her to approach you on their own terms.
2. Playing Dress Up. For fur babies who enjoy costumes, choose the materials with care. Costumes with elastic can get a dog or cat tangled or pinned, pulling out hair, digging into the skin, or cutting of circulation. Many costumes are made of highly flammable materials or have toxic dies and coatings. Do not allow pets to chew on or ingest any part of their costume.
3. No Tricks. Protect black cats. Superstitions and myths about black animals being the bearers of misfortune and evil make black animals the target of torture at Halloween. Some black animals have been maimed, abused, and even killed at Halloween by people acting out for or against devil worship.
Keep your animals inside the night before Halloween and during All’s Hallow’s Eve to keep them away from pranksters. Make sure the information on their tag and micro-chip is up-to-date in case they get loose. Better safe than sorry.
4. It’s Shocking! Keep extension cords and all other electrical cords away from pets so they don’t chew them. An unfamiliar item make be seen as a toy or something to get rid of.
5. More Treats, Mom! Many pet parents treat their pets at Halloween and that can be a good thing. Just be sure to keep it healthy. Avoid tainted treats from big box stores like Target. Click here to read more about recalled pet products, including dangerous chicken treats from China.
Healthy treats from US companies with safe ingredients are available online from companies we have researched or you can make your own using pet-friendly foods like pumkin.
If you plan to make treats for your pets, check out the 13 Scary Ingredients you’ll want to leave out of your dog and cat treats. Things that are okay for humans, like wheat and chocolate, are often not good for pets. Enough chocolate can actually cause death in dogs. And glutens can cause allergic reactions and other health problems for both cats and dogs.
6. I Got Your Number. Keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number handy (888) 426-4435.
These simple precautions can help to ensure that you and your pets avoid potential dangers and enjoy this holiday together. Happy Halloween!
By Joyce Rheal, the Emergency Planning Committee chairwoman of the National Association Professional Pet Sitters and Pets-life. Joyce is federally certified in the FEMA, Animals in Disasters program, the author of several books and a certified pet care consultant based in Southern Illinois. More at her blog website http://cedarbreezeconsultants.com.
Can Animals Teach Us About Human Health?
Do killer whales get Hodgkins Lymphoma? Can a Jack Russell terrier have breast cancer? What animals get STDs? Science journalist, Katherine Bowers and UCLA cardiology professor, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz explore lessons on healing from the animal world in their new book, Zoobiquity. Natterson-Horowitz changed her approach to human health care after realizing the strong connection between human and animal health during an examination of a tamarind at the LA Zoo. Called in to consult with veterinarians about the monkey’s weak heart, Natterson-Horowitz tried establishing a connection with the South American primate by looking lovingly into the animal’s eyes. Zoo staff asked her to stop making eye contact with the tamarind as it could trigger “capture myopathy,” a fear reaction that can release enough adrenalin to induce heart failure.
Similar emotional or physical stress triggers called ‘tako‐tsubo’ cardiomyopathy or ‘transient left ventricular apical ballooning’ happen in humans but are treated differently than vets treat capture myopathy. And another commonality can be found with White Coat Syndrome–a stress reaction some human patients have when making eye contact with a doctor.
Zoobiquity is full of insights into the nature of diseases, including mental health. Pet parents will recognize many parallels including the ways that both cats and people find a sense of relief in grooming. The soothing behaviors of cats licking themselves clean or monkeys picking at fur share commonality with human grooming behaviors including hair twirling and touching a hand to one’s cheek.
As it turns out, animals do get STDs. Bowers and Natterson-Horowitz investigated an epidemic of Chlamydia in Australian koala bears. And yes, killer whales have been found with lymphoma and dogs get breast cancer. In fact, most emerging infections come from the animal population. The book presents case studies and compelling research about vets and physicians working together to find healing solutions for world health challenges like West Nile and Lyme’s disease.
Reminds me of a joke. What do you call a vet who treats just one species? A doctor!
Monkey image: Copyright Jill Greenburg courtesy of ClampArt Gallery, NYC
Sources: PBS; New York Times