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Tips to keep your pets safe this Halloween

From avoiding certain treats to keeping your pets inside
2021 halloween pets dog 1
Halloween pets

It's Halloween weekend and that means you may have some tasty treats lying around your house.

But some of those treats can be harmful for our furry friends.

"Chocolate is the big one, but most people are aware of that," said Natalie Thomas, the manager of Marketing and Communications for the Guelph Humane Society, "grapes, raisins -- some chocolate bars have raisins in them.  Those can be toxic to pets as well."

Thomas said dogs tend to have more of a sweet tooth than cats, and emergency vet clinics are often very busy with dogs on Halloween.

There's also a substance Thomas said most people are unaware of that pets should avoid.

"It's called xylitol, it's a natural sweetener," added Thomas, "it's often used to replace sugar in things like sugar-free gum, pudding, and baked goods. You do not want your pets having anything with xylitol in it."

The Guelph Humane Society is also raising awareness about the rise in pet suffocation from snack or chip bags.

"They put their heads inside the chip bag," warned Thomas, "then, when they inhale, the chip or snack bag actually closes around their neck, and they can't get out."

Thomas said two to five pets are dying weekly due to suffocation in the U.S..  She suggested putting chip bags away in a cupboard, or if an empty bag is in the garbage, to cut air holes in the bottom, just in case.

Halloween weekend is often a noisy one as well, and that can be stressful for your pets.

Thomas suggested putting a note on your doorbell to avoid kids ringing it while trick-or-treating, or sit outside to give out candy to eliminate the doorbell altogether.

For dogs, she said distracting them is often helpful.  

"If you can keep them occupied, busy, and engaged with treats and food puzzles, for example, they'll be less worried about trick-or-treaters coming to the door."

For cats, the Humane Society suggested keeping them in a room they can't escape from, that way you won't be worried about them sneaking out the door without you realizing they've gotten out.

"We've seen cats get spray-painted, or hit with pellet guns around Halloween," added Thomas, "if you're out trick-or-treating and you see a cat in distress, or walking out onto a busy road, we recommend you call your local Humane Society."

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