GUELPH, ON (October 28, 2021) – The Guelph Humane Society (GHS) is reminding pet parents to be extra vigilant this Halloween. From an abundance of potential toxins, such as chocolate, to increased foot traffic at your doors, there are a number of safety concerns to consider this weekend.
“One safety concern that is less well known are chip bags,” says Melissa Stolz, Intake & Behaviour Coordinator at GHS. “Chips bags, treat bags, plastic bags in general create a suffocation risk. Cats and dogs stick their head in the bag, looking for treats and smelling scents. Once their head is inside the bag, they inhale and the bag tightens around their necks. Pets can suffocate to death in less than five minutes.”
Snack bag pet suffocation is more common than people think, causing an estimated two to five pet deaths every single week across the United States. These are completely preventable deaths once people are aware of the risk.
“The simplest thing you can do is cut bags when you’re done with them,” advises Stolz. “Snip the plastic before disposing of the bag so that if a pet does get their head inside, you’ve created an airhole for them. It’s also important to keep chip bags and treat bags out of reach – put them up in a closed cupboard when the bags are still full, then cut them and put them in a closed garbage once the bags are empty.”
Besides an increase of chip bags at Halloween, GHS has some other reminders for pet parents this weekend:
- Keep toxins like chocolate, grapes/raisins and products with xylitol (a natural sweetener) away from pets. Keep candy off the floor and out of reach. If your kids do want to spread out their candy on the floor, make sure they do it in a room with the door closed – to keep your pets out.
- If your cat likes to sneak out when the door is open, consider putting your cat in a closed room during trick or treating hours so that they don’t have the opportunity to escape.
- While cats are safest indoors, if you do normally let your cat outside it is important to keep them inside around Halloween. There tends to be an increase in delinquent behaviour around Halloween, and GHS has seen cats get spray painted, shot with pellet guns, etc. Keep cats inside for their safety.
- If your dog gets worked up by the doorbell ringing, have a plan in place to reduce barking. Consider putting your dog in a part of the house where the doorbell isn’t as loud, or putting on some music or white noise to drown the doorbell out. Better yet, put a sign over your doorbell asking people to knock instead. You can also keep your dog busy with a stuffed kong or food puzzle, in the hopes that they are too busy with their own treat to worry about trick or treaters at the door.
About the Guelph Humane Society
The Guelph Humane Society advocates for all animals, and in particular those animals whose lives it can influence, through care, education, community support, protection, and leadership. Founded in 1893, the Guelph Humane Society provides care and shelter for approximately 3,000 homeless, stray, injured and abused animals each year in Guelph and Wellington County. GHS is a registered charitable, non-profit organization that does not receive government funding. Visit www.guelphhumane.ca to discover more.
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