The Halloween Survival Guide for Pets

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Hi all,
I cannot believe it is already the end of October. This year has flown by and soon it will be cold, snowy, and blowy. I don’t know about you, but I love the nice Fall weather and I am not ready for it to be over. That said, now is a good time to start to strategize about ways to keep our fur babies out of trouble and happy and healthy.

Cat in a bee costume

Here is one of our Halloween costume contestants from last year. Oh so cute!

Halloween is always a fun holiday for kids and pets alike, but there are a few things to watch out for. First, remember that even the cutest of costumes can scare your pets. If they cannot see your face or recognize you in some way they may react inappropriately. I remember one year I wore a costume with a cape. The cape frightened my dog and she ran at me barking! Once she quieted enough to hear me she calmed down, but neither one of was having fun at that point!

Dressing up your pet for Halloween can be a fun activity, but be sure your pet is ok with the idea. Many places sell costumes specifically for dogs and cats. Conversely you can create a costume, but be sure not to use tight ties or bad to hold it on. Sadly, we do see an occasional pet who was injured by a hair band left on too long. Be sure your pet can move freely in the costume and can see easily. After that have fun and remember the puppy or kitty treats!

When trick or treaters are coming to the door, be sure your pets are confined so they don’t become stressed or escape out the door when you answer. If they dash out, they could be injured or give a small person a real Halloween thrill! Better that they are away from all this action. Consider giving your dog a special treat in a quiet place until Trick or Treat is over and the lights are out on the porch. A Kong toy stuffed with their food moistened with some peanut butter or cream cheese and then frozen can give your dog something to do for a while that will be more interesting than barking at the door.

Schnauzer in costume.

We love you too Walt!

Speaking of treats, a plan for handling the sweets and keeping them away from your pets is important. Most people are well informed about the toxicity of chocolate, but other dangers exist. Small boxes of raisins for example can be toxic to dogs and cause kidney failure if ingested. Another hidden danger is the sugar free candy. Many of these contain xylitol, the sweetener that is sugar free. Xylitol is extremely dangerous in even small amounts. Ingestion causes low blood sugar and liver failure. Sugar free gum can poison a dog even if only one piece is eaten. Since candy can be a mine field of danger, be sure the candy is out of reach and in a container that can’t be chewed up or opened by your pets.

Halloween is lots of fun for most. Hopefully these tips will help your pets enjoy it as well. Stay tuned for more Holiday survival information coming for the Thanksgiving holiday. Until then, Happy Halloween!

Dr. Nancy

Happy July 4th! Keep your pets safe with these tips!

4th of JulyHappy Independence Day!  Today is a great day to enjoy the festivities of fireworks, picnics and family time!  Sometimes we may forget that our pets may not enjoy some of this as much as we do.

Sure they love the cookout.  Who doesn’t? Remember though that our dogs and cats may not feel so hot if we share our food.  Foods that are high in fat and protein can make some pets sick with pancreatitis and stomach issues. Vomiting and diarrhea will only spoil the fun, so instead, here are few safer foods to offer our pals. If your pet is on a special diet for medical needs, these may not be appropriate either, so use caution if you feed prescription foods!

  • Ice cubes made from chicken broth can provide a tasty treat for pets while they are outside at the picnic.
  • Veggies are generally good, but keep away form the starchy stuff. (Potato salad is not a vegetable! :) )
  • Some fruits can really bring a nice sweet treat. Bananas, apples and strawberries are good choices.  NO GRAPES!

We humans LOVE fireworks.  Unfortunately that is usually not the case for your pets. Even hunting dogs are not fans of this.  The sounds of the explosions can hurt their sensitive ears and the spectacle we love can be overwhelming to them.  Additionally, not all dogs enjoy the social gathering of crowds as much as we think they do.  Best bet:  Leave your dogs at home!  Here are some tips for dogs (and cats) that may be afraid of the racket:

  • Put them in a quiet, darker area of the house.  Sometimes covering them up after putting them in their kennel can help.
  • Some dogs and cats may do better if you put cotton balls in their ears.  Just be sure to take them out afterwards.
  • Play the TV or radio while you are gone.  This can help mask a little of the noise.
  • Consider using an herbal calming agent such as Composure.  These types of herbals will take the edge off without sedating your pet.

Last, but not least, remember all of the troops including the service dogs who have given us the privilege of enjoying this holiday!  Happy fourth everyone!

Justin dressed up

Justin was a true party animal. Just not when the fireworks were exploding.

Dr Nancy