Halloween Safety Tips
No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 13 Safety Tips for Pet Parents
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy.
- Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rate—and even seizures.
- Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.
- Ingesting tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are swallowed. (As we head toward decorating for Thanksgiving or Christmas… some popular plants used are much more toxic and hazardous).
3. Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets, and can be fun and great with others!! Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams and some are pretty neutral!). Some even love going out with the family in costume for trick or treating. But for pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress. For some pets walking with the adult who is supervising the trick or treating is better than leaving them home, but don’t send your pets out with your children. It can end up being traumatic for both the kids and the pets.
6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also try on costumes before the big night (at least during the day today, if you haven’t already). If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au natural or donning a festive bandana. Also, if you are one to dress up to give out candy, make sure your pets are comfortable with your costume or mask. And make sure that your pets are either their to watch you and kids dress up or remove the masks and scary parts before they see you, after coming home.
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets. Another option is to put up a baby gate in front of the door, so you don’t have the constant ringing of the door bell. Many pets do much better with that because they feel part of the activities without the noise.
9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside, another plus for using the baby gate idea. Make sure that birds, exotics, and pocket pets, etc are in their cages or in restrained areas as well.
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification, and today is definitely a day when they should be wearing them! If for any reason your pet escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you. And if you are taking your pet trick out trick or treating with the family, ID’s and leashes are a must!
11. Do not leave your pets at home alone during peak trick or treating hours, (or during ‘trick or treating hours’ at all if you can help it). The noise of children running, the strange sounds, and the doorbells can be very stressful and even traumatic for pets. If you can’t be home, get a pet sitter or drop them off with someone who will be home. For most of us, someone can stay behind to give out candy and be with the pets or if you are going to a party, they usually start, or at least get going, long after the trick-or-treaters have gone.
12. If you are Having a Halloween Party or Going to One, take your pets to a friends’ or family member’s house, board them, or take them to a sitter. Large amounts of people, lots of costumes and scary noises, doors opening and closing where they can get out and lost, and dropped food or food and alcohol given them by unknowing or drunk friends can mean disaster for your pets!!
13. Be a responsible pet parent, companion and animal caretaker and use your common sense like you would with your small children to keep your pets’ safe and stress free! If you do suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Source: ASPCA & Common Sense
Kathleen McCabe weeps when she recalls the death of Alexis Jarose. Not only did McCabe lose her best friend, but she couldn’t save Jarose’s dog, Schweppes, a wirehaired fox terrier. “I would have willingly taken him, but when Alexis died, her caregiver immediately put the dog to sleep. There was nothing I could do, because Lex had revised her will leaving out any mention of Schweppes,” she recalled.
A similar fate won’t befall McCabe’s beloved terrier, Spencer. Since McCabe first crafted a will with her husband, Stephen, 40 years ago, provisions have always been made for their pets.
Animals who outlive their owners face uncertain fates. Under the best circumstances, a family member or friend cares for your pet for the rest of its life. If not, your pet goes to a shelter, is euthanized, or is simply let out the front door. The Humane Society of the United States estimates six to eight million dogs and cats enter shelters annually. Only half are adopted.
Should an accident befall payroll specialist Millicent Reed, 50, or her husband Jimmy, her sister-in-law Patricia would get first right of refusal to their seven cats. Another sister-in-law is next in line. Reed said a plan is essential. Six years ago, her aunt was in an auto accident and later died.
“We knew my aunt’s cat, Pepper, was alone, but it took us a week to fly to my aunt’s home,” she said. By then Pepper was out of food and scrounging through the garbage cans. Now Reed always leaves her pets enough accessible food and water to last at least a week should something catastrophic occur.
Thinking of leaving a chunk of change to Fido or Fluffy? Think again. “In our current legal system, an animal can’t own property. Some human has to be in charge. A will is a transfer of assets. Once it’s done, there’s no ongoing supervision,” explained Mary Randolph, a non-practicing lawyer and the author of “Every Dog’s Legal Guide” (2007).
Randolph suggests a pet trust. This legal document—recognized in 39 states and the District of Columbia—outlines the continued care and maintenance of domestic animals and names new caregivers or directs trustees to find new homes for pets. “A trustee has a legal duty of carrying out your wishes,” she said.
While owners may simply include their pets as provisions in their wills, Michael Markarian of the Humane Society believes a trust is a better option in case of disability. He said, “Wills may take weeks to be executed and could be contested, but a living trust can be written to immediately take effect.”
Creating one does take time. Select a pet-friendly lawyer or estate planner and expect to pay from $500 to $1,000 for their services. Be sure to consider your pet’s financial future. Some owners make outright gifts of cash for their animals’ care.
Hilary Lane of Louisville, Colo., has set aside $5,000 to offset costs for the person who ends up with her dogs, Luna and Frisbee. Likewise Carol Brown, 72, an antiques dealer in Walpole, N.H., has money set aside for the care of her three Norwich terriers and two horses, should any outlive her. “I didn’t want to place a financial burden on their caregivers,” she said.
Some animal lovers don’t advertise the fact that money is part of the deal. One pet owner who wishes to remain anonymous reveals that upon her death, there are 10 people listed as potential trustees to take care of her male cat. What the new caregiver won’t know at first is that the estate is instructed to award the person $10,000 if the feline is still with him or her after six months. “I want someone to take him out of the kindness of their heart and be rewarded if they keep him and fall in love with him like I did,” she explains.
Others leave money to be distributed over time—monthly, annually, or as reimbursement for expenses.
Want even more security for your pet? Name someone other than the caregiver as trustee to dole out the cash. This reduces the risk of someone taking the money, but selling or destroying your pet.
That’s Dane Madsen’s plan. After his divorce, the 50-year-old corporate strategist from Henderson, Nev., created a living trust for his three rottweilers. “Should my ex-wife be unable to care for any of my pets, two trustees have explicit instructions to use their best judgment to find homes for my pets. The dogs should be kept together, and the new caregiver will receive $150 per month, plus money for veterinary bills and other expenses,” he said. “In the event an animal falls ill, the caregiver and vet jointly decide their end-of-life management.”
More of a do-it-yourselfer? For $89, Peace of Mind Pet Trust (POMPT) will e-mail you simple forms for creating a trust according to the laws of the state in which you live. The brainchild of an Illinois lawyer, Peter Canalia, the kit includes checklists, tips for funding your trust, and paperwork to create a durable power of attorney. Pet trusts can stipulate all the details an owner finds important, from the kind of food the pet eats to its medical needs and walking schedules. The Humane Society also offers a free fact sheet on estate-planning. The sheet includes advice on both wills and trusts.
Bottom line: Just as you would if you were picking a guardian for a child, talk to potential caregivers for your pets. Find someone you trust. After all, what you really want is someone who will love your pet.
By: Laura Daily | Source: AARP.org
Smart steps to take to find your lost pet
Birds of a Feather
Baby parrots wait to be released back into the wild at the Seropedica Recovery Center near Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
That parade of kids, adults—and yes, even pets—in funny outfits is due to arrive at your door next week, bringing all the sweet and scary joys of Halloween! But pet parents, as you carve the jack-o-lanterns and fill those bowls of candy, please be aware that your furry friends may stumble upon dangers you hadn’t thought of.
Warns Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President, ASPCA Animal Health Services, which includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, “Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals. As pet parents start to make plans for trick-or-treating or costumes, they should be aware of Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets.”
The following are just a few precautions you should take:
No Chocolate: Even if your pet has a sweet tooth, ingesting chocolate—especially baker’s and dark chocolate—can be dangerous for dogs and cats, possibly causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and even seizures.
No Sweets for the Sweet: Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.
Dangerous Décor: Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
Don’t Play with Fire: Keep your pets away from jack-o-lanterns with lit candles inside—knocking the pumpkin over can easily cause a fire. And curious kittens can get burned or singed by candle flames.
Costume Caution: Please don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know that he or she loves it. Costumes can cause skin irritations, obstruct a pet’s vision or impede his breathing. And get them used to it slowly ahead of Halloween or the event.
|With a properly trained dog, and dog-loving neighbors, you can take your dog trick-or-treating with his new Halloween Pet Costume.Some dogs love getting the attention that a halloween costume brings, but other dogs
Now your dog should be ready to cooperate whether at a party, getting pictures taken, or “Woof-or-Treating”
Hurry… Save on Pet Howl’oween Costumes & Goodies
“I believe how we treat the least of beings among us determines our own humanity!” …Oprah said in opening remarks on her show about the treatment of farm animals
The Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday shined a spotlight and her support on Proposition 2, the California ballot initiative that will determine how animals are raised.
Reporter Lisa Ling visited both free-range farms and “factory” farms to show viewers the differences in how animals are raised. On the set of the program, Oprah stood next to replicas of cages and crates to show the size of some animals’ quarters in large-scale farm operations. Those who support California’s Proposition 2 say these animals have a right to more space during their lives. Opponents claim the new law would drive up costs, put farmers out of business and end the egg industry in California, and deny consumers the right to choose less-expensive food.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told Oprah’s audience that he supports Proposition 2. “This is just about basic decency,” he said. “It’s about, if animals are going to be raised for food – and that’s certainly the case in this country – then the least we can do for them is allow them to move. I mean, what’s more basic that allowing animals with legs and wings to move around and treating them in a humane way? Californians do the right thing and vote ‘Yes’ on Prop 2.”
The show, however, was not one-sided. Opponents of Proposition 2 also had their say. Ryan Armstrong, a third-generation egg farmer from California, told the audience that if Proposition 2 passes, it will make eggs produced in California too expensive for most consumers, creating the possibility that eggs will be imported from places without these animal housing laws. (However, in several other states the changes are already being made).
A couple that now raises range-free veal calves successfully, says that in the long run, it is actually cheaper and less labor intensive to allow them to live freely, with their mothers.
Another farmer who raises range free pigs and chickens says that food is all about energy, and the energy emitted from abused animals affects all of us who eat that meat in a negative way.
Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Illinois Farm Bureau President Phil Nelson, who invited Winfrey to travel outside of Chicago and visit a farm in downstate Illinois.
Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Matt Kellogg, a hog farmer from Yorkville, Illinois who was featured on the program and talked about the experience.
Although pet parents are well aware of poisons lurking around their home, many don’t realize that some of the biggest culprits are sitting right on their own nightstands. In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received 89,000 calls related to pets ingesting over-the-counter and prescription medications. To help you prevent an accident from happening, our experts have created a list of the top 10 human medications that most often poison our furry friends.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the following items, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. And remember to keep all medications tucked away in bathroom cabinets—and far from curious cats and dogs.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, and can cause serious problems even in minimal doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to their effects, and may experience stomach and intestinal ulcers and—in the case of cats—kidney damage.
Antidepressants can cause vomiting and lethargy and certain types can lead to serotonin syndrome—a condition marked by agitation, elevated body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, disorientation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen, which can damage red blood cells and interfere with their ability to transport oxygen. In dogs, it can cause liver damage and, at higher doses, red blood cell damage.
Methylphenidate (for ADHD)
Medications used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in people act as stimulants in pets and can dangerously elevate heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as cause seizures.
Fluorouracil—an anti-cancer drug—is used topically to treat minor skin cancers and solar keratitis in humans. It has proven to be rapidly fatal to dogs, causing severe vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest even in those who’ve chewed on discarded cotton swabs used to apply the medication.
Often the first line of defense against tuberculosis, isoniazid is particularly toxic for dogs because they don’t metabolize it as well as other species. It can cause a rapid onset of severe seizures that may ultimately result in death.
Pseudoephedrine is a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products, and acts like a stimulant if accidentally ingested by pets. In cats and dogs, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature as well as seizures.
Many oral diabetes treatments—including glipizide and glyburide—can cause a major drop in blood sugar levels of affected pets. Clinical signs of ingestion include disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures.
Vitamin D derivatives
Even small exposures to Vitamin D analogues like calcipotriene and calcitriol can cause life-threatening spikes in blood calcium levels in pets. Clinical signs of exposure—including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and thirst due to kidney failure—often don’t occur for more than 24 hours after ingestion.
Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that can impair the central nervous systems of cats and dogs. Some symptoms of ingestion include significant depression, disorientation, vocalization, seizures and coma, which can lead to death.
- Pets are ultra-sensitive to anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, which can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and kidney damage in cats.
- Nothing like antidepressants to bring a pet down—they can trigger vomiting, lethargy and a frightening condition called serotonin syndrome.
- The popular pain remedy acetaminophen is especially toxic to cats, and can damage red blood cells and interfere with oxygen flow.
- Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many cold remedies, but acts like a stimulant in cats and dogs, who can experience elevated heart rates and seizures.
Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up meds accidentally dropped on the floor. The solution? “Keep all medications in a cabinet,” advises Dr. Helen Myers, veterinary toxicologist at the ASPCA. “And consider taking your pills in a bathroom, so if you drop one, you can shut the door and prevent your pet from accessing the room until the medication is found.”
I have two cats. Buddy is a large tabby tom cat that I found in a snow bank when he was a kitten. He was very young, weak, thin, and had frostbite on the tip of his ear and part of a paw. I can only guess that a thoughtless owner of a litter of kittens tried to get rid of them. I only found one. Lucy is a smaller tabby queen that I inherited when she was a kitten. She is my granddaughter’s cat. I am the permanent foster mom since my granddaughter is not allowed to have another cat in her apartment building. Buddy and Lucy are best of friends. One entertains the other and they are usually found rolled up in a big ball of fur on the couch. They are strictly indoor cats.
Over 16 years after having two strokes, I’ve had a dog, bird, and now the cats. The bird was a cockatiel named Kato that I taught to talk, or perhaps the bird taught me to talk too as I was aphasic (a language problem caused by stroke or damage to the brain which leads to trouble speaking, understanding, writing, or reading) post-stroke. Eventually, the bird talked so much that I couldn’t keep him quiet! When I was on the phone he must have thought I was talking to him and would go on and on about how pretty he was and screeched out to “Be quiet! I’m studying!” It wasn’t difficult to figure out that the old bird had picked that quip up from my years at the university.
The dog was a miniature schnauzer named Cindy. She was our family pet when the kids were young. Cindy used to dance on her hind legs when we played the piano. I’m not sure if it was because she wanted to do a jig or because she wanted us to stop playing. Either way, she added great joy to our family.
Now, the children have grown and I live alone. But I am never lonely with Buddy and Lucy around. As a pet owner I have the responsibility of making sure they are fed each day and are provided fresh water. I make sure they are current with their immunizations and vet checks. I brush them at least once a week. And I talk to them too. Not that they understand me but they do react to the intonation of my voice. Believe it or not, they sleep with me too. No matter how many times I’ve sent them from my room they always come back to cuddle. Buddy curls up by my abdomen and Lucy wraps around my lower legs. Everyone is comfortable, except when I move they seem disturbed and meow their discontent.
Pets are important to all of us. After a stroke, pets can be wonderful housemates as well as giving us an opportunity to care for something else other than ourselves. Pets can heal our souls too. Cindy made me laugh when she danced to music. The cockatiels comb was always messy and he’d cock his head and look at you just to make you smile. The cats play with my knitting yarn then run and hide as if to say, “I didn’t do it!” All of these little creatures have added enjoyment to my life. They have helped me to keep depression, a side effect of stroke, at bay. They have helped me realize that I am an important individual in their lives as well as my own.
by Cleo Hutton @ MyHeartCentral