October 25, 2011, VANCOUVER – Halloween is a lot of fun for children, but it can be a terrifying time, and even a dangerous one, for many pets says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC). The national animal charity is asking that people ensure that their animal companions don't suffer during Halloween.
"While animal protection organizations have been effective in getting the word out about protecting black cats at Halloween, we need to be as effective about warning people with pets about more common Halloween hazards," states Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director.
According to Hickey many pets are terrified by the frequent, loud sounds of excited children, ringing doorbells and knocks at the door.
"Dogs, cats and other animals aren't used to the constant commotion outdoors and children arriving at the doorstep every few minutes," continues Hickey. "Some animals become very frightened while others get excited and try to greet their young visitors."
HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan, whose family includes several dogs and cats, wants people to realize what their pets may be going through and to take the appropriate precautions to ensure their safety and comfort.
"Don't keep pets outdoors during Halloween and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren't frightened by all of the noise and excitement and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door," says O'Sullivan. "A quiet, inner room where they can't hear much of the noise from trick-or-treaters usually is effective. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective."
O'Sullivan also recommends that people out trick-or-treating leave their pets at home.
"A dark October right where numerous excited children in scary costumes are going from house to house isn't a good time to take your pet for a walk," suggests O'Sullivan.
11 Do's & Don'ts for Protecting Pets at Halloween
- DO keep pets indoors in a safe, comfortable, quiet location and check on them frequently.
- DO keep pets away from Halloween decorations and tell children not to share any candies with their furred friends.
- DO ensure that pets always have effective identification. The Humane Society of Canada offers free pet ID. The Pet Recovery Team reunites lost pets with their families through a special network which includes giving each one of your pets an id tag bearing your pet's name and your contact telephone numbers. On the other side of the tag, is a unique serial number keyed to each one of your pets' information, complete with The Humane Society of Canada's toll free number, which works from anywhere in the world.
- DO take a pet suspected of ingesting a harmful item or substance immediately to a veterinarian.
- DON'T allow pets to eat any treats and educate children not to give candies to pets – chocolate and other candies can be toxic to pets, and the wrappers can be harmful if swallowed
- DO educate others about looking out for pets and other animals at Halloween.
- DON'T dress animals up in costumes as many pets find this uncomfortable and stressful.
- DON'T leave pets outdoors during Halloween.
- DON'T take pets trick-or-treating. If you must take them, ensure they have effective ID and are safely confined on a leash.
- DON'T let animals near candles and other dangerous items and decorations often around at Halloween.
- DON'T ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect to local authorities or The Humane Society of Canada at 1-800-641-KIND (5463).
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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