petMD Provides Ten Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Oct 27, 2011, 12:50 ET from petMD

MIAMI, Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Halloween is less than a week away and while it can be a festive time of year for children and families, it can often be dangerous for our pets. recommends pet parents avoid any danger or stressors this year by following these ten simple tips:

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  1. Trick-or-treat candy is on the list of foods dogs should not eat. All forms of chocolate can be dangerous for both dogs and cats. The artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs, causing loss of coordination and seizures.
  2. Keep pets indoors on Halloween night. Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween. Inexcusable? Yes! But preventable, nonetheless.
  3. Place pets in a secure room, away from the front door, when trick-or-treating begins. The constant door opening and strangers yelling loudly for candy may cause fear or aggression in a pet.
  4. Black cats are especially at risk on Halloween. Keep them, or any cats for that matter, indoors. Cruel or naive people may harm black cats due to their association with the holiday and satanic rituals. Many shelters uphold a no black cats adoption policy during October as a precautionary measure.
  5. While people may not think of eating decorations such as jack-o-lanterns and dried corn on the cob, keep in mind that these food items are still appealing to a dog or cat. Despite being relatively nontoxic, indigestion in dogs and cats can occur, as well as intestinal blockage.
  6. Don't keep lit pumpkins, or any type of fire, around a pet. Should they get too close, pets run the risk of burning themselves or knocking over the candle and causing a fire. Rely on flashlights or battery operated candles to bring a glow to jack-o-lanterns.
  7. If decorating with electrical equipment, be sure to keep the wires out of the way so pets don't get to them. If chewed, wires will not only be ruined but could cause a possibly life-threatening electric shock in dogs and cats.
  8. When it comes to pet costumes, make sure it isn't annoying or unsafe. If a pet acts like he or she would rather eat the costume than wear it, it's probably not a good idea. And always keep an outfitted pet under close supervision to prevent strangling, suffocation, or choking.
  9. Try on the costume before the big night. If a pet seems distressed, allergic, or shows any abnormal behavior while in costume, consider letting him or her go "au naturel."
  10. IDs, please! If a dog or cat should escape and become lost, having the proper identification will increase the chances that he or she will be returned.

Most importantly, enjoy the Halloween festivities! If these pet safety tips are followed, Halloween can be a fun, safe, stress-free holiday for all involved.

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petMD is a leading online resource focused solely on the health and well-being of pets. The site maintains the world's largest pet health library, written and approved by a network of trusted veterinarians. petMD was founded to inspire pet owners to provide an ever-increasing quality of life for their pets and to connect pet owners with pet experts and other animal lovers. petMD is a subsidiary of the Pet360 family of brands, which also includes – the most complete pet food and supply retailer online, and– a fully certified, full-service pet pharmacy delivering pet meds, vitamins and comprehensive pet health and wellness products.

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