ALERT: Hal­loween Haz­ards

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY DEVON P. APODACA | Spe­cial to this News­pa­per

EL CEN­TRO — Hal­loween is un­doubt­edly one of most peo­ple’s fa­vorite hol­i­days. It’s fun and scary at the same time, but with all the un­known haz­ards, Hal­loween can be a real night­mare for our pets.

Here are ten easy tips for keep­ing the fur-kids safe this Hal­loween:

1. Don’t keep pump­kins lit around pets.

If you are us­ing can­dles to keep your jack-o-lanterns or other Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions lit, make sure to place them well out of reach of your pets. If they get too close, they run the risk of se­verely burn­ing them­selves or start­ing a fire.

2. Keep glow sticks away from pets.

While glow sticks can help keep peo­ple safe on Hal­loween night and pro­vide some ex­tra fun to a cos­tume or Hal­loween party, glow sticks pose a se­ri­ous threat to the health of our pets should they ac­ci­den­tally chew on or con­sume them. The liq­uid in­side glow sticks is non-toxic, so it won’t ac­tu­ally make pets sick, but it does taste aw­ful. Pets who chew open a glow stick may drool, paw at their mouth, be­come ag­i­tated and some­times even vomit. What may pose the big­gest threat of all is the con­tainer that holds the glow­ing liq­uid.

3. Don’t dress your pet in a cos­tume un­less you know they’ll love it.

If you do de­cide the “fur-kid” needs a cos­tume, make sure it isn’t dan­ger­ous or even flat out an­noy­ing to your pet. Cos­tumes should never re­strict move­ment, hear­ing, eye­sight or the abil­ity to breathe. Pets who are wear­ing a cos­tume should al­ways be su­per­vised by a re­spon­si­ble adult so that if some­thing goes wrong, it can be dealt with right away.

4. Keep Hal­loween plants out of reach.

Small amounts of pump­kin and corn can be fed safely to most pets. In­gest­ing un­cooked or moldy Hal­loween pump­kins or corn dis­plays can cause big prob­lems. Gas­troin­testi­nal up­set is a pos­si­bil­ity when­ever pets eat some­thing they aren’t used to, and in­testi­nal block­age can oc­cur if large pieces are swal­lowed. Cer­tain types of mold pro­duce tox­ins which may cause neu­ro­logic prob­lems in both dogs and cats.

5. Candy is not for pets. Choco­late (es­pe­cially bak­ing or dark choco­late) can be dan­ger­ous and po­ten­tially lethal for pets. A few symp­toms of choco­late poi­son­ing in pets may in­clude, but are not lim­ited to: vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhea and seizures. Can­dies con­tain­ing xyl­i­tol (an artificial sweet­ener) can also be poi­sonous to pets. Small amounts of xyl­i­tol can cause a sud­den drop in blood sugar and loss of co­or­di­na­tion, pos­si­ble seizures and even liver fail­ure.

6. Keep pets con­fined and away from the door. In­doors is cer­tainly bet­ter than outdoors on any given day in the Im­pe­rial Val­ley, but more so on Hal­loween. Your door will be con­stantly open­ing and clos­ing and strangers will be on your doorstep dressed in unusual cos­tumes. This can be very scary for our fur-kids and may re­sult in es­cape at­tempts or un­ex­pected ag­gres­sion. Putting your dog or cat in a se­cure crate or room away from the front door will re­duce stress and pre­vent them from get­ting out­side.

7. Try on pet cos­tumes a few days, or the night be­fore. Don’t wait un­til Hal­loween night to put your pet in a cos­tume for the first time. Any time you want to in­tro­duce your pet to some­thing new, it is al­ways best to do it grad­u­ally. Get your pet’s cos­tumes early and put it on for short pe­ri­ods of time (and piece by piece, if pos­si­ble). To help make the ex­pe­ri­ence more pleas­ant, of­fer lots of treats and praise. If at any time your pet seems dis­tressed or de­vel­ops skin prob­lems from the cos­tume, con­sider a fes­tive ban­dana in­stead.

8. Don’t leave pets out­side on Hal­loween. Pranksters have been known to tease, in­jure, steal and even kill pets on the night of Hal­loween. Although it isn’t jus­ti­fi­able, it is pre­ventable. Black cats are es­pe­cially at risk from pranks or other cru­elty-re­lated in­ci­dents. In fact, many shel­ters do not adopt out black cats during the month of Oc­to­ber as a safety pre­cau­tion. Make sure your black cats are safely housed in­doors around Hal­loween.

9. Keep elec­tric and bat­tery-pow­ered Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions out of reach of pets. Although elec­tric and/or bat­tery-op­er­ated Hal­loween dec­o­ra­tions are safer than open can­dles, they can still present a risk to pets. Pets who chew on elec­tri­cal cords can ac­ci­den­tally elec­tro­cute or burn them­selves. Bat­ter­ies may cause chem­i­cal burns when chewed on or gas­troin­testi­nal block­age if ac­ci­den­tally swal­lowed. Shards of glass or plas­tic can cause lac­er­a­tions any­where on the body, but if ac­ci­den­tally swal­lowed they can prove to be fa­tal.

10. ID tags are a must! Should your pet ac­ci­den­tally es­cape and be­come lost, hav­ing the proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion will in­crease the chances that he or she will re­turn home safely. Col­lars and tags are ideal if some­one is able to get a hold of your lost pet, but mi­crochips of­fer per­ma­nent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion should the col­lar or tag fall off. Please make sure that the in­for­ma­tion on an ID tag or on a mi­crochip is up to date. Lastly, please make sure to have the num­bers of all lo­cal vet­eri­nar­i­ans on hand in the event that some­thing hap­pens on the night of Hal­loween:

El Cen­tro An­i­mal Clinic 298 W. Main St. El Cen­tro, CA 92243 760-352-4222 Desert Ve­teri­nary Group 805 N. Rodeo Drive Im­pe­rial, CA 92251 760-355-0141 Val­ley Ve­teri­nary Hospi­tal 485 Broad­way, Ste. F El Cen­tro, CA 92243 760-352-1279 Howard An­i­mal Hospi­tal 4275 High­way 86 Braw­ley, CA 92227 760-344-5738 Have a happy and safe Howl-oween every­one!





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