VET’S VIEW: Keep your pets safe at Hallowe’en

WITH wintery nights drawing in, it must be almost time for the first of many upcoming human festivals that can potentially harm animals.

Next week’s Hallowe’en celebrations were once just about humans dressing up (and usually just children), but nowadays the whole family is involved – especially our pets.

Are you planning to dress up your dog, cat, or even hamster in the cutest novelty costume you can find or make?

Personally, I’m not a massive fan of dressing up pets for fun, as I don’t think all pets enjoy it.

I prefer pets to look like pets – with perhaps the odd themed neckerchief. But turning them into pumpkins or pirates for amusement can cause unnecessary stress, even resulting in abnormal and unwanted behaviour.

However, if you decide to dress up your pet, then please make sure they’ve tried on the ‘costume’ before the big night, making sure breathing, movement, hearing, and ability to bark or meow are not constricted.

Please double check there are no small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could be swallowed or inhaled.

It is also essential your dog or cat is properly identified underneath that outfit – if, for any reason, your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tag (legal requirement) and/or microchip can be a lifesaver.

With so many sweets in easy reach on Hallowe’en, it’s important to remember chocolate is extremely poisonous to all dogs.

Chewing gum can also cause serious problems. If you suspect your pet has eaten something harmful, call your vet immediately.

Carved pumpkins are certainly festive, but take care when adding candles, as pets can easily knock lit pumpkins over, causing a fire, with kittens at risk of getting burned or singed by flames.

Finally, when repeatedly opening your front door to trick-or-treaters, please take care that your pet doesn’t run away scared!

Don’t forget, the Grove Lodge Vets children’s Hallowe’en party is on October 31 at the Southwick clinic, with real creepy crawlies and a fancy dress competition – call 01273 596201 for details.