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MDARD Encourages Owners to Help Keep Animals Safe this Halloween

Have a fab-boo-lous holiday without causing more scares or stress for animals

LANSING, MI As Michiganders put the final touches on costumes, decorative displays, and plans for trick-or-treating, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) would like to remind owners of some of the best ways to keep their animals healthy and safe this Halloween.

"Considering the needs of our animals is important when making plans for Halloween to ensure they won't have any unpleasant scares or additional stress," said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM, MS, DACVPM.  "From keeping them away from the candy bowl to ensuring they have up-to-date identification, there are many precautions owners can take to keep their animals safe this Halloween."

Keep animals safe this holiday by following these five easy tips:

  • Unsafe Eats: Give Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters not your animals.

Unfortunately, animals cannot enjoy all of the same treats and food we do. Be sure to keep candy or other sweets containing chocolate, raisins, and/or xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum) away from animals as these ingredients can be hazardous.

  • Search No More: Make sure animals have proper identification.

With opening the door for all the trick-or-treaters, it can be easy for animals to sneak out and get lost. Make sure animals have identification tags and/or up to date microchips with current contact information to improve the chances they are returned home.

  • Destress and Decompress: Have a quiet space for your animals.

Having a constant stream of visitors can be overly stimulating for animals. It is important to have a quiet space set aside for them to go if they are getting too stressed. Also, have the room stocked with their food, water, litter pan, etc. in case they would like to maintain their distance for an extended period of time.

  • Avoid Temptations: Keep Halloween decorations and wires out of reach.

Spooky decorations and lights not only make for a frightful display but also catch the eye of our animals. As these items can cause injury, be sure they are kept out of an animal s reach, along with candles with an open flame, glow sticks, and potpourri.

  • Cautious Costumes: Be thoughtful when selecting a costume for your animal.

Our animals might not share the same enthusiasm for costumes that we do, causing them stress and discomfort. Beyond making sure animals are comfortable in their outfit, ensure the costume does not restrict their movement or breathing, block their sight, cause them to get overheated, or have small pieces that can be chewed off and become a choking hazard. Also, don't leave a costumed pet unsupervised.

Following these tips can help keep your animals safe and healthy through the spooky season. If there are any concerns about your animals'  health either now or throughout the year, please talk to your veterinarian.


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