Halloween can be a fun time for kiddos, but a potential stressful time for our critters.
Doorbell ringing, knocks on the door, strange people in even stranger looking masks – can be scary!
Here are some tips to help keep your beloved pets safe.
Stash the Treats Safely Away
Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but dogs are quick to sniff out all the good hiding spots. Explain to your children that Fluffy would like to snack on the treats and putting them somewhere safe is best. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for cats and dogs. Sugar-free candies containing the sugar substitute xylitol can also cause serious problems in pets.
If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call SouthCare or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Watch the Decorations and Keep Wires Out of Reach
While a carved jack-o-lantern certainly is festive, pets can easily knock over a lit pumpkin and start a fire. Curious kittens are especially at risk of getting burned or singed by candle flame. Glow sticks are used to help keep kids safe while they are out in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find these glow sticks to be a lot of fun as well, and we commonly get calls about pets puncturing the sticks. While most of them are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste. We will often see pets who bite into them drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction.
Be Careful with those Costumes For some pets, wearing a costume may cause undue stress. The ASPCA recommends that you don’t put your dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. If you do dress up your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume does not limit his or her movement, sight or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury. Be sure to have your pet try on the costume before the big night. If he or she seems distressed or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting your pet wear his or her “birthday suit” or don a festive bandana instead.
Keep Pets Calm and Easily Identifiable
All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. While opening the door for guests, be sure that your dog or cat doesn’t dart outside. If your pooch is lucky enough to join in on the trick-or-treating route, make sure your pet is having as much fun as you are. There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar and is securely leashed. ALWAYS make sure your pet is wearing proper identification—if for any reason he or she does escape, a collar with ID tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet.
The Easter holiday brings us Easter egg hunts, family, sunny spring days, and Easter lilies. The later of these joys can have a dark side. Potential fatal lilies are true lilies of the Lilium or Hemerocallis species. Examples of some of these dangerous lilies include the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Japanese Show, stargazer and Western lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! One of the most popular of these true lilies would be the Easter lily.
Easter lilies may be beautiful to look at but they can be a serious hazard to your pet. Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure. If your cat has ingested any part of the lily and they do not receive medical attention immediately, it can become fatal in as little as three days.
What are the signs of lily toxicity?
- Vomiting (watch for pieces of plant in the vomit)
- Decreased appetite
- Increase in urination, followed by lack of urination after 1-2 days
How do I prevent my cat from becoming ill?
If possible, do not have lilies in your home, not even as cut flowers. If you do have lilies in your house – make sure your cat cannot reach them and inform everyone in your household of the dangers lilies pose to sweet little Mittens.
My cat may have eaten some lily leaves – what do I do?
- Immediately bring your cat and the lily to your veterinarian.
- There are other species of lilies, peace and calla lilies for example, that are less toxic. However, these species can still make your pet very ill. Proper identification of the lily can help your veterinarian select a treatment plan.
- If your cat has recently ingested the plant material, and has not vomited, your veterinarian will induce vomiting. Activated charcoal will be given orally to absorb any toxin that may remain in the gut.
- The key to survival is high volumes of IV fluids – usually for 24-48 hours.
- During this time monitoring of your pet’s kidney values and urine output will be monitored.
- If treatment is successful, there are no reported long-term consequences. It’s still a good idea to monitor for any changes in urination for a time after exposure.
Be especially vigilant during the Easter season. Easter lilies may smell lovely, but they can be lethal beauties.
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Brrrr! It’s cold outside! We wanted to be sure to warn of the danger warm vehicle engines can pose to cats that spend time outdoors in the winter.
As temperatures plunge this winter, cats that spend time outdoors will search for any warm place they can find. One particularly attractive site for many of these cats is the warm engine of your car. This can be a particularly dangerous place for a cat to curl up, since they can be severely injured or killed when the engine is started. Help keep your own and your neighborhood cats safe with these tips:
Keep your cat indoors
The best advice we can offer regarding your own cat is to simply to keep him indoors during the winter. This would prevent access to warm engines, with the added benefit of avoiding other dangers, including exposure, predators, moving vehicles, or injuries or disease transmission from other cats. Here are some helpful hints for keeping your cat happy indoors!
Check on your cat before taking any trips
Finding and checking on your cat before leaving is a good way to make sure they are not in your own vehicle before you leave (or anyone else’s vehicle, too!).
Give any cats that might be hiding under your car a warning
Even with your own cat safely inside, neighborhood and feral cats could still be hiding under your car. We suggest that you pound on your hood, slam the car door, or even sound your horn before you start the engine. Make sure you give them plenty of time to wiggle out of their hiding spot before you start that engine.
It’s always a great idea to take a quick look under the car to make sure no one visible under the car. You never know, you may even find a leak or notice that low tire, too!
Let’s keep everyone safe out there!