Lisa A. Shenkle
Director of Marketing & Communications
Pet Industry Encourages Pet Safety During Halloween Festivities: PIJAC Shares Important Tips for Animal Safety
Washington, D.C. – Pet safety during Halloween, as during other festive holidays, should be at the top of the list for pet owners this fall. Not all companion animals embrace the loud noises, scary gestures and costumes that come with the holiday, so the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) shares the following tips to help keep pets safe and secure on what really may be the scariest night of all – for your pet:
- Candy and candy wrappers can be toxic to pets. NEVER leave candy unattended, or within reach, of your cat or dog. Chocolate is toxic to pets and foil and cellophane wrappers, if ingested, will cause havoc on the animal’s digestive tract, which could result in surgery or death.
- Some “Healthy” snacks such as grapes and raisins are equally toxic to pets. They cause damage to Fido’s kidneys which could lead to kidney failure.
- Avoid having your dog ‘Trick or Treat’ with you. If you insist on taking your dog with you, maintain a short leash, use reflective tape on their costume or leash or use flashing LED’s to avoid accidents where your pet may not be seen.
- Animal costumes can restrict a pet’s vision, movement and/or hearing – make sure any costume your pet is wearing does none of these.
- Loud noises, such as doorbell ringing and door knocking, may stress your pets. Find a quiet room in the house with food, water, litter box or crate and bring them out after trick-or-treating is over.
- Animal cruelty increases every Halloween. Leading up to Halloween, and on Halloween itself, keep your pets – especially your black cats (white cats, too) – indoors to reduce the possibility of harmful pranks or acts of animal cruelty.
- Jack-O-Lanterns and other decorations with flames are dangerous around unpredictable pets. Cats and dogs have been known to knock over lighted candles which have resulted in home fires. Consider flameless candles as part of your décor and try to eliminate as many electrical cords as possible to prevent chewing.
- Leash your animals, if they will be outdoors, to prevent them from running in front of cars or running away and make sure they are properly tagged and micro-chipped if they do get away - but they should always be under the owner’s supervision to avoid accidents.
- Running, chasing, quick movements by trick-or-treaters toward animals, or their owner may be perceived as an aggressive action by a pet. Discourage children from conducting themselves in this manner to avoid an altercation – better yet, if your dog appears to be agitated, keep your pet inside and away from children.
According to a 2014 statistics from the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $350 million on costumes for their furry friends – clearly, Americans want to integrate their family pet into the Halloween fun.
“Responsible pet ownership and animal welfare is an integral part of PIJAC’s mission and pet safety plays a significant part of that objective,” says Ed Sayres, President & CEO of PIJAC. “We hope that by helping to educate consumers, pet owners, neighbors of pet owners and even children, everyone will have an enjoyable and safe Halloween.”
According to the Pet Poison Hotline, calls increased at Halloween by 21% in 2011, many which were related to chocolate consumption by pets. If your pet ingests candy or other toxic substances, consult your veterinarian, local Animal Emergency Hospital or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 which operates 24/7. There is a $39 per incident fee that covers the consultation and follow-up calls.
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The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is comprised of members of the pet industry nationwide, including pet food and pet supply manufacturers, veterinarians, retailers, pet day care and boarding facilities, groomers among others. PIJAC has supported pro-pet legislation and regulations for forty years. With over $183 million donated in the form of food and general supplies, as well as direct monetary aid, the pet industry and has helped more than 7.5 million homeless and shelter pets in the last two decades. More information can be found at www.pijac.org.