Santa Clarita, Calif., October 27, 2017 — Unfamiliar noises, ringing doorbells, loud screams and kids in costumes. The sights and sounds of Halloween are fun for adults and children; however, for cats and dogs, it is often a night of stress and anxiety. Animal Behavior College (ABC), a career school specializing in training professional dog trainers, veterinary assistants, cat trainers and pet groomers, offers 8 tips for pet owners to ensure their four-legged companions have a healthy and safe Halloween.
Prepare in Advance. Ensure pets are microchipped and that the chip’s contact information is up-to-date. In an American Veterinary Medical Association study of 7,700 stray animals at shelters, dogs with microchips were returned to their owners 52.2 percent of the time and cats were returned to their owners 38.5 percent of the time. The study found that only 21.9 percent of dogs and 1.8 percent of cats without microchips were reunited with their owners. Microchipping increases pet owners’ chances of locating their pets in the event one manages to escape. Pets should also wear secure collars with appropriate ID tags.
Choose a Safe Haven. Find an area in the home that can serve as a quiet place where pets can be placed away from Halloween activities. Put crates and kennels in the room and include their favorite toy, pillow or blanket. Be sure to fill water and food bowls to keep pets fed and hydrated.
Don’t Bring Fido or Fluffy Trick-or-Treating. Many pet owners find it tempting to bring their dogs and cats trick-or-treating. However, this and other Halloween activities are probably not good ideas for pets.
“Trick-or-treating can be a traumatic and possibly dangerous experience for dogs, especially when they accompany their owners to strangers’ homes and encounter pets that are not on leashes,” said Rhonda McCloud, Psy.D., ABCDT, ABC Dog Trainer Program mentor and owner of Mental Health Dogs located in Hesperia, California. “Scared cats can jump from their owner’s arms and run away. Owners should use common sense and look at Halloween activities from their pets’ perspectives. Leave dogs and cats at home in a crate or kennel in a quiet room away from the commotion. Halloween is a kids’ holiday, not a pets’ holiday.”
Don’t Let Pets Roam and Run Loose. Do not allow dogs, cats or any pets to roam in the yard or have free access to entranceways where trick-or-treaters are greeted. Owners of cats, especially black cats, should keep them inside to ensure they are safe from harm.
Rid the Home of Dangerous Decorations. A tail-wagging dog and a curious cat could injure themselves or others by accidentally knocking over burning candles, which is why open-flame candles should not be used around pets. Owners should also avoid hanging fake dangling cobwebs and decorations with strings and ribbons. If consumed, they can cause intestinal blockage. Toss or keep potentially hazardous dangerous decorations out of reach.
To Dye or Not to Dye. Hair dyeing pets for Halloween has become increasingly popular but also controversial. For owners that choose to dye their pets’ hair, experts advise using products made especially for animals.
“Although it’s usually harmless, hair dyeing dogs can be stressful and could possibly cause allergic reactions,” said Melissa Anderson, ABC Grooming Instruction Program Mentor and owner of Deb’s 1st Class Grooming in Omaha, Nebraska. “If you’re going to dye your pet for Halloween, make sure you use safe, vegetable-based products that can wash out easily. Also consider using gels, pet hair sprays and other dyes made especially for pets. Never, never use hair coloring products intended for humans on pets.”
Say No to Halloween Treats. Calls to veterinarians at the Pet Poison Helpline increase by 12 percent during the week of Halloween, according to PetPoisonHotline.com. Candy, especially chocolate, rich and spicy and foods and alcoholic beverages can be dangerous and fatal to cats and dogs. If having a Halloween party, ask guests not to feed the animals and place food and unattended alcoholic beverages out of pets’ reach.
Have Emergency Numbers Handy. Pet owners should create an emergency list of phone numbers that includes their pets’ veterinarians, emergency animal hospitals and the number of the Pet Poison Hotline number, 855-764-7661.
ABC offers professional certifications in dog trainer training, pet grooming, cat training and veterinary assisting. ABC also offers specialized certificates of completion for five Short-Term Programs: Pet Massage, Pet Nutrition and Diet, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, Training Shelter Dogs, and The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons.
To learn more, call 800-795-3294 or visit www.AnimalBehaviorCollege.com.
About Animal Behavior College
Animal Behavior College is the largest specialty school of its kind. As of September 30, 2017, the college has certified and graduated more than 14,395 professional dog trainers through the Dog Obedience Program, 7,564 veterinary assistants through the Veterinary Assistant Program and 2,541 groomers from the Grooming Instruction Program.