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Halloween Safety Tips Inspired by Glee Star, Chris Colfer

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Halloween Safety Tips Inspired by Glee Star, Chris Colfer

This article originally appeared on Dr. Mahaney’s Pet-Lebrity News column on as: Halloween Safety Tips Inspired by Glee Star, Chris Colfer

Who doesn’t love seeing a cute dog or cat dressed up in costume for any special event?

While humans may love to gaze at and photograph our pets after they had been adorned in a costume of our choice, we also must consider the safety and tolerance of our canine and feline companions in the festivities.

To kick off the 2013 Halloween celebratory season, Glee’s Chris Colfer posted a photo of himself and his significant other, Will Sherrod, dressed up as nightclub-friendly versions of Star Wars’ R2-D2 and C-3PO (respectively) on his hrhchriscolfer Instagram.

The photo included the following caption:Two droids and a wookie. #happyhalloween

Chris Colfer

The wookie to which Colfer refers is his feline friend, Brian, who is decked out in a brown, furry hooded costume sporting a white and black strap reminiscent of that worn by Chewbacca. For those of you who are unaware of Chewbacca, he’s the giant, hirsute, space-trotting companion who helps save R2-D2 and C-3PO from a variety of troublesome circumstances in the Star Wars series.

Colfer also posted a photo of Brian sporting a pair of green ears looking much like the Jedi-master Yoda (if you don’t know who Yoda is, go look it up on “the internets”).

While both photos certainly are cute, I must speculate that the feline wookie-Yoga isn’t so pleased to be covered in synthetic fur or strapped into cloth ears.

Safety First in Festive Attire

In preparing our pets’ Halloween costume, it’s important to always keep in mind the comfort and receptivity our dogs and cats exude towards such festive attire. Some pets love to wear Halloween costumes, while others cower in anticipation of fabric, plastic, or other materials being applied to their bodies.

Never force your pet to wear a costume, as his desperate attempt to remove the costume could lead to trauma or illness. Consider that any or all parts of the costume could be ingested and cause serious gastrointestinal abnormalities including vomit, diarrhea, obstruction, and others.

Before putting any apparel or costume on your pet, trim off strings and extra material that could be consumed or get caught around the muzzle, neck, or limbs. Even a seemingly short piece of thread could potentially have a tourniquet effect that restricts blood flow and cause severe tissue damage due to lack of oxygenation.

The cloth, plastic, or other components of your pets Halloween costume could also cause heat to be retained at the skins surface and internally. Your pet could show signs of stress or hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) and exhibit elevated respiratory rate/panting, pacing, inability to get comfortable/settle down, increased water consumption, vocalization, or other unusual behaviors.

If your pet tolerates a costume, always keep him under close visual observation.

I might as well provide the rest of my top Halloween pet safety tips to round out the preventative nature of this column.

Prevent Your Pet’s Consumption of Halloween Candy

Ingestion of chocolate, sugar, fat, and other ingredients found in Halloween candy can be potentially harmful to your pet. All candy must be kept out of reach of your pet.

Many cats and dogs are known for their “counter surfing” skills, so don’t underestimate their ability to vertically launch to strive to reach tempting treats. Put your child’s Halloween candy stash in sealable plastic container inside a cabinet out of reach of both pets and kids

If you suspect your pet has consumed candy or any toxic substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Be Cautious with Halloween Decorations

Blazing candles placed inside a pumpkin or other areas of your home can create a fire hazard for both you and your pet. Swap flammable light sources for those powered by batteries in your pumpkin this holiday season.

Electric cords from decorative lights can tempt your pet to play with them or take a taste, potentially leading to strangulation, shock, or death. Keep all cords, strings, and Halloween decorations out of your pet’s reach.

Avoid Stressful Halloween Situations

There are many stressors occurring around Halloween that can adversely affect your pet’s behavior. Repeat doorbell ringing, doors opening and closing, loud exclamations of “trick or treat”, and strangers entering the proximity of your home can all cause excessive stimulation to your pet. If your pet barks excessively, becomes aggressive, hides, or exhibits other behaviors as a result of the many stressors occurring around Halloween, arrange an overnight play date or visit with your pet sitter.

Keep your Pet Properly Identified

The frequent coming and going of Halloween guests causes to your home’s front door to frequently be opened. If your pet escapes, the return home will occur more readily if a collar with tags bearing up to date identification is worn. An implanted microchip can add an extra layer of security should the collar or tag come off. Additionally, make sure you keep your personal information up-to-date with the microchip company.

Images: Chris Colfer's Instagram page

Thank you for reading this article. Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

Please feel free to communicate with me through Twitter (@PatrickMahaney) and follow my adventures in veterinary medicine by liking Patrick Mahaney: Veterinarian Acupuncture Pain Management for Your Pets on Facebook.

Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.



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