A Little Halloween Blog...

Halloween has become BIG business in more recent times with celebrations becoming bigger and more elaborate every year! 
When it comes to our pets however, it can be a highly confusing, stressful and sometimes quite dangerous time. We take a look below at some of the main concerns facing our furry friends at this time of year and how we, as the responsible pet owner, can help them cope with it and take action if needed. 

Trick or Treats?

We all know that Halloween means LOTS of treats – buckets full of sweets and chocolate which can prove irresistible! It’s common knowledge that chocolate is toxic to animals but did you know, the sweetner Xylitol which can be found in many sweets (especially chewing gum) is even more dangerous if digested?
Halloween loot should be kept well out of the way of pets however, if it should find its way into the tummies of our furry friends, it is important to speak to your vet as soon as possible. Keep hold of any wrappers / packaging (if there is any left!) so they know what has been ingested as this could help with any treatment that may be needed. 
If the lot gets eaten, wrappers and all (which let’s face it is more than possible!), then be aware this can cause added complications such as blockages in the digestive system and / or choking. If you notice choking then follow these steps whilst you’re waiting for vet assistance:
Open the pet’s mouth, pull the tongue forward and look for any obvious obstructions.

Heimlich Manoeuvre

Large animal – stand behind them and place your arms around their body. Make a fist with one hand and place it where the sternum and abdomen meet. Grasp your fist with your other hand and push upwards and forwards (towards the shoulders) suddenly and forcefully. Repeat four or five times. 
Small animal – hold the animal upright with their spine against your chest and make a fist with one hand. Place this where the sternum and abdomen meet. Grasp your fist with your other hand and push upwards and forwards suddenly and forcefully. Repeat four or five times. 
Hemilch Manoeuvre for dogs

Trick or Treaters

Most pets react when someone comes to the house, admittedly some more than others. It’s worth remembering though, no matter how reactive or unreactive they are, an increase in door knocking and bell ringing combined with deliberate but nonetheless scary visitors can cause heightened distress and stress. 
Try to keep your pet as calm as possible, maybe moving and securing them to a different part of the house so they won’t be disturbed by the increase in activity. A scared cat for example could bolt through an open door and end up outside in a distressed state which could cause further harm. 
If you notice your pet is shaking, panting, cowering, showing uncharacterised aggression it could be that they are stressed. Make sure the area where they are is free from anything that could aggravate the symptoms; be present and calm, talking continuously and gently to them could help. If safe to do so, gentle stroking could help to reassure them they are safe but be careful as a scared animal can be unpredictable.

Fancy Dress

If you have a pet that will let you dress them up then do so but please be CAREFUL!
Costumes should fit comfortably and not contain elastic that sits on the head or around the neck. They should not contain hard parts that could become loose or easily chewed off causing a choking hazard and should be easily removable to avoid overheating or a cause of stress. 
Avoid costumes that restrict the animal’s vision as again this can cause unnecessary distress. 

We don’t want to be party poopers and there is no reason why you can’t enjoy Halloween with your pets safely – just remember to take a little bit of extra care and be aware during the celebrations!

If you would like to find out more about how to deal with an emergency situation involving your pet or an animal in your care then join us on one of our pet first aid courses where we look at all kinds of treatments you can deal with while you wait for professional assistance.