Halloween is sometimes a scary time for family pets who may not enjoy the fun of the season.
CLEARWATER - Halloween can be great fun for trick-or-treaters but family pets face some scary dangers that their humans should be careful about.
Pinellas County Communications offers some tips to keep the holiday safe for all.
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.
When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that pets dont dart outside.
Chocolate in all forms is very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting; diarrhea; hyperactivity; increased thirst, urination and pulse - and even seizures.
Candies containing the alternative 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 in dogs, 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.
Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations can be dangerous. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution when adding 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.
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.
Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Consider a pets personal preferences. If a pet is dressed up, 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. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider allowing him to be himself.
Dogs and cats should always have proper identification. If for any reason a pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances that he will be returned.
Information was provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Normal hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 4:30 p.m. The adoption center is also open the first and third Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. To reclaim a lost pet, visit the shelter between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The facility is closed Sunday and holidays.
For news on how to adopt, donate or volunteer, join Pinellas County Animal Services on Facebook. To learn more about the shelter, visit www.pinellascounty.org/animalservices or call 582-2600. The lost or found pet hotline is 582-2604.