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Keep pets safe this Halloween

Every year, after Halloween, the RAPS shelter fills up with pets who have been spooked by fireworks and other commotions and have fled in fear, becoming lost. It can be a traumatizing time for animals and their people!

Be sure to keep your pets safe this Halloween with a few simple tips.

  1. Keep animals indoors – While the front door may be opening constantly as trick-or-treaters demand loot, be sure that all pets are carefully and safely secured in a part of the house where they cannot escape to the outdoors. Loud noises can set off fear and disorientation in many animals and, unintentionally, pets may bolt. We hate to say it, but Halloween can also be a time when fund and games go beyond pranks and turn into animal cruelty. Don’t let your pet be the victim of someone’s very bad idea of a Halloween trick.
  2. Make sure your pet has ID – If you have waited this long to tag or chip your dog for identification purposes, please wait no longer. Halloween is a time of year when too many animals get lost. Make it easier for you and your companion animal to be reunited. Make sure your pet is properly tagged and/or chipped.
  3. It’s not just one night – Halloween may be October 31, but firecrackers and other explosive noises entertain young (and sometimes older) folks for days before and after. Be prepared to employ the same precautions before and after Halloween as you do on the big night.
  4. Watch what your pets eat – Halloween may be a time when we let our kids (and ourselves) scarf down stuff we would normally avoid, but this is an especially dangerous time for animals, who could be poisoned by some of the foods and other accoutrements of the season. Most people know that chocolate is poison to dogs, but some other candies also contain ingredients that can be toxic to animals. Besides food, Halloween is a time when we bring unfamiliar things into the house – costumes, decorations and assorted flim-flam – that may be interesting to animals. Chewing or eating some of these items can be poisonous or deadly.
  5. Even the pumpkins aren’t safe – Halloween jack o’lanterns and other seasonal decorations like squashes, gourds and dried corn may not b e poisonous to animals, but eating them could cause serious disruptions to gastrointestinal function.
  6. Don’t play with fire – Candles, even inside seemingly secure pumpkins, can attract the curiosity of animals and result in injury. Be careful. Know where your animals are and keep them away from flames.
  7. Costumes aren’t always fun – Pet costumes can be cute. They can also be traumatizing for some animals who don’t understand what is happening to them. Worse, some costumes could constrict their movement or even choke animals. Another consideration … some sensitive animals may be disturbed to see humans – even their own family members – in alarming get-ups. Be aware of how costumes might affect your pets and pay special attention to making sure they are OK with the festivities.