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NC State CVM Clinician Urges Owners to Remember Pet Health and Safety this Halloween

Tonight’s the night!

All Hallows Eve, aka Halloween, is here and Dr. Rita Hanel, a clinical assistant professor at NC State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has timely advice to help pet owners avoid emergency trips to the university’s Veterinary Health Complex.

“Halloween is a fun time for both children and adults with neighborhood trick-or-treating, visitors, and parties,” says Dr. Hanel, who directs the Small Animal Emergency Service at the Randall B. Terry, Jr. Companion Animal Veterinary Medical Center. “Like other holidays, however, owners need to be aware that their pets may find all the unusual activity stressful. It’s important to keep your pet’s health and safety in mind.”

Dr. Hanel offers a few tips for your pet’s safe and healthy Halloween:

  • Try to walk your dog earlier on Halloween and keep a tight hold of the leash to avoid any encounters that may scare your dog as well as neighborhood goblins.
  • Keep outdoor cats indoors on Halloween.
  • Feed your pet before all the activity begins.
  • Consider putting your pet in a quiet room away from ringing doorbells, costumed visitors, and open doors—just in case, make sure your pet is properly identified with microchip, collar, and identification tag.
  •  Keep candles and lit jack-o-lanterns out of pet’s reach.
  •  No human treats! And this means ensuring any type of party food and candy—not just chocolate—is off limits.

“Pet costumes are becoming more popular and can be fun for owners but make sure it’s fun for your dog or cat,” says Dr. Hanel. “Try the costume on in advance to ensure your pet does not mind being dressed up. The costume should fit properly, be comfortable for your pet, and not have pieces that the pet can chew off. Of course, the costume should not interfere with your pet’s mobility, sight, hearing, breathing, or ability to open its mouth. And never leave a costumed pet unsupervised.”

The Terry Center staff wishes all pets and their human companions a happy and safe Halloween. If an unfortunate incident does occur and your veterinarian cannot be reached, the Terry Center Small Animal Emergency Service is available 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. Friday to 8 a.m. Monday on weekends. Call 919.513.6911.