Halloween Can Spook Animals
Some tips to protect animals over the Halloween Season
While Halloween is fun for trick or treaters, it can be a scary and dangerous time for pets and farm animals. "Loud noises can cause animals to panic putting both pets and children in danger," says Lorie Chortyk, Director of Community Relations for the BC SPCA. Farm animals are at risk too. Dogs or cats could dart into traffic or jump through windows, while frightened farm animals could run into barbed-wire fences or other obstructions. Dogs can also act out of character at the sight of strangers in costumes coming to your door.
Keep Your Pet Inside
Prevent your pets from escaping or confronting trick or treaters by keeping them in a quiet room. You may consider disabling your doorbell for the night if your dog is the type that gets excited whenever it rings. Now is also a good time to make sure your pet has identification - a tag and a tattoo or microchip - in case your pet gets lost. Cats need identification too -- indoor cats too -- in case they bolt from fright.
Don't Feed Candy and Chocolate to Pets
"Any sudden diet change will cause stomach upset in your animal," says Dr. Jamie Lawson, BC SPCA Director of Animal Health. "Feeding animals candy can lead to health problems such as diabetes or obesity," says Lawson, "and chocolate is especially dangerous because it naturally contains theobromine, an ingredient which is toxic to cats and dogs."
Loud Bangs Panic Some Animals
Because exploding fireworks can affect pets in varying degrees be sure to spend time consoling your pets whenever there are loud noises. Some dogs will howl, while others might cower and whine. "I've seen cases where a dog has bolted in fear right through a screen door. The dog was gone for days just because of a loud bang," says Dr. Dave Sedgman, veterinarian with Thompson Rivers University, in Kamloops. "In extreme cases animals will try to dig into a hardwood floor or even jump through a plate glass window in fear."
On Halloween night, leave your dog at home while trick or treating; bring dogs and cats indoors; and set off legal fireworks in areas away from pets and farm animals. By thinking about the animals, Halloween will be a safer and stress-free occasion, as well as fun for kids.