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Keep your pet safe on Halloween

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Onslow County Animal Services wants to remind people with companion animals that Halloween can be a frightening holiday for pets. They told 9 On Your Side that while adults and children alike enjoy the costumes and the candy, these things can actually distress or endanger a companion animal.

“Dogs and cats rely on a daily routine,” states Animal Services Director Alan C. Davis, “When that routine is disrupted by lots of noise and commotion like trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell, and/or lots of strangers in unusual clothes in their house, pets can become frightened or agitated. It’s best to keep pets at a safe distance from the festivities.”

To help keep pets safe at Halloween, OCAS recommended the following precautions to 9 On Your Side:

• Keep pets safely inside from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities. This will ensure that pets won’t become frightened or feel threatened at the sight of noisy costumed children. In addition, frequently opened doors provide a perfect opportunity for escape, which can go unnoticed during all the commotion. Be sure all pets are wearing collars with identification tags in case of accidental escape.

• Keep candy out of pet’s reach. Candy can be harmful to pets and chocolate is toxic to cats, dogs, and ferrets. All forms of chocolate -- especially baking or dark chocolate -- can be dangerous, even lethal, for dogs and cats. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Halloween candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. And while xylitol toxicity in cats has yet to be established, it's better to be safe than sorry.

• Keep pets away from decorations. Flames in jack-o-lanterns and candles can quickly singe, burn, or set fire to a pet’s fur. Pets can also become tangled in hanging decorations like streamers and can choke on some decorations if they chew on them. Resist the urge to put your furry friend in costume. Most pets dislike the confinement of costumes and masks, and flowing capes can cause injuries if pets get caught on something.

• Don’t bring the family dog along for trick-or-treating. Dogs may become difficult to handle during the noise and confusion of the festivities. A lost dog or dog bite will quickly put an end to your Halloween fun.

• Unfortunately during Halloween, black cats may be the target of pranksters, mischief, or worse – that can put cats at high risk of being harmed. People with black cats should be extra careful about keeping their pets safe during this time. To keep your pet safe and sound during your Halloween fun Davis offers this final tip, “Keep your pet safe in an enclosed area with a toy and soothing music. Resist the urge to include your pet in your Halloween activities, and everyone can enjoy the holiday.”

For more information call Onslow County Animal Services at 910-455-0182. Visit our website at www.onslowcountync.gov/animalservices online complaint web access www.animalservicerequest.com View adoptable animals at www.petharbor.com

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