Pet Travel: Keeping your Pet Safe During Cargo Travel

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Cargo HoldLet’s face it, as pet owners we would all love to travel side by side with our pets during air travel. Unfortunately if your furry companion is over 22 inches in length and/or over 20 pounds, you’re probably out of luck. The only other feasible option would be cargo transport but you won’t subject your pet to that type of torture. Well, there are many misconceptions about cargo transport. Here are just a few:

Myth: I wouldn’t put my pooch in that dark hole with baggage stuffed on top of him/her.

Fact: Most people don’t realize that the pet cargo area is separate from the baggage compartment and is lighted during travel.

Myth: My pet will freeze or suffer heat exhaustion in the cargo area of an airplane.

Fact: The pet cargo compartment is temperature and pressure controlled just like the human cabin. The summer/winter extreme temperature embargo does exist but only pertains to tarmac temperatures and can be circumvented by the airlines using climate controlled vans to transport the pets to the airplane.

Myth: Airline employees don’t know how to handle my pet.

Fact: All airline employees who handle your pet must be certified to do so. Also, they are instructed never to open crates or fraternize with animals.

All of these myths couldn’t be farther from the truth. The fact is, millions of pets fly safely and happily every year in cargo without any problems and if your pet has been certified healthy to travel by your veterinarian you should have nothing to worry about. Here are some tips to keeping your pet safe while he/she is traveling in the cargo area of the plane.

Make sure your crate is IATA compliant: This means the crate must be ventilated on all four sides, have a waterproof bottom and a spring loaded locking crate door. Also, take the time to make sure the crate is the correct size. If you’re pet looks crammed in the crate or uncomfortable in any way you could be denied at the gate. Find IATA compliantpet crates

Use metal hardware! To be honest, the quality of the plastic hardware that comes with most crates is adequate at best. Do yourself (and your pet) a favor and purchase some metal hardware for your crate. Even though it’s a rare occurrence, crates with plastic hardware have been known to separate. Give yourself peace of mind that your crate will stay together and get the metal hardware.

Identification must be present and visible: This is a no-brainer. In the case of an emergency make sure you leave a picture, your emergency info and your veterinarian’s info zip-tied to the crate.

Plenty of water: You want to make sure your pet has plenty of water before, during and after air travel.

No tranquilizing: This can seriously harm your pet during air travel. Tranquilizing will affect a dog’s ability to pant and therefore regulate body temperature and/or inhibit their ability to breathe. Happy Traveler is a great healthy alternative.

Be proactive: During the reservation process ask as many questions as you need. Know the airlines pet policies because they all have different rules and regulations. Verify throughout the process that your pet will be boarded first and unloaded last. Also, when you board the plane let the captain and flight attendants know that your best bud is traveling via cargo.

More information on air cargo pet travel

Traveling With a Pet by Car or Air: Know the Basics

Pet TravelThe pet travel season is right around the corner. The time to prepare is now. Here are some basics to travel with a pet by car or air.

Travel by Car: If this is Fido’s first car ride, don’t start with a long journey. Start off slow, particularly with an errand that doesn’t involve you leaving the car (Ex. Drive-up bank teller). Running errands with your dog in the car is also a good way to teach him/her every car ride doesn’t have to end up at the veterinarian, groomer, or boarding kennel. Always remember to keep your dog secure in the car with a pet safety harness or cargo crate. For longer journeys, plan to stop every 3-5 hours to let your dog stretch the legs and do its “business.”

Travel by Air: Let your pooch familiarize him/herself with an airline crate or in-cabin carrier on its own. Never force them into a crate or carrier. Also, it is very important NOT to use these travel tools as “scolding mechanisms.” Don’t give your dog the impression that this is where he/she will go for timeout.

If you’re pet is flying in a cargo crate: If you didn’t purchase metal hardware for your crate, this would be a wise investment. More and more airlines are requiring metal hardware over plastic fasteners. A small investment will give you assurance that your pet will not break through the crate and become missing. Although it rarely happens, nobody wants to lose their pet this way. Better safe than sorry.

Start off by leaving a favorite towel, toys, etc. in the open crate for your pooch to explore. In time, close the door and take Fido on various trips in the car. This will help simulate the air travel process as much as possible. Please remember, water is extremely important for a pet traveling by air. Since you won’t be able to check mid-flight, please make sure your pooch stays hydrated with spill-proof water, a crate water bottle, or a cage crock prior to take-off.

If you’re pet is flying in an in-cabin carrier: No matter what in-cabin pet carrier you choose, make sure your pet will fit in it. Your pet must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. The number one reason pets get denied at the gate is improper sizing. Most airlines have an 8-9” maximum height requirement for under the seat, so consider a flexible carrier. If you’re pooch is over 11 inches and weighs over 15 pounds standing on all fours, he/she is more than likely traveling in a cargo crate. Also, however tempting it may be, do NOT remove your pet from its carrier. A loose pet in the cabin can be very unpleasant for everyone.
Following just a few common sense rules about traveling with a pet can make the trip safer and happier for you both. For more information on traveling with a pet, see our website, pettravel.com

Pet Travel: Teaching Your Dog Good Travel Manners

Good mannered dogA dog is one of the best travel companions you can have. They never complain or become backseat drivers. However, it is important to teach your dog good manners prior to travel. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has declared January National Train your Dog Month and what better time to train your dog to be a good traveler? Follow these pointers to make the most out of traveling with your dog.

Basic obedience training

• Teach your dog basic commands like sit, stay, come, and heel. It is essential for any pet traveler to recognize these verbal commands from the owner. These commands will not only build mutual respect between you and your dog, they will help prevent unacceptable behavior such as excessive barking, jumping, digging, etc. Make sure to go slow and work on one command at a time.

• Leash training: if you do not walk your pet on a leash, you will need to start. Under your supervision, clip the leash to the collar and let your dog drag it around the house. This will help your dog realize the leash is nothing to be feared. Next, pick a time that is normally quiet, such as early morning, and head out the door. Start slow, the key is to have your dog walk beside you. (this is a sign of dominance) If your pooch starts to pull you, stop immediately. Do not let them pull you. This will only reinforce the habit. Also, do not yank him over to you by the leash. Instead, reward him for properly walking beside you with treats or praise.

Socializing vs. Restraining

It is important to know your dog’s temperament, especially if you plan on traveling with them. Remember even with “friendly” pets, there are times to socialize and there are times to restrain.

Socializing – Try to socialize your dog as early as possible. Under close supervision, watch how your dog interacts with different people, pets and places. Always choose appropriate social interactions for your dog, especially in the beginning. For example, an off-leash dog park would probably not be a good starting place. Make sure to reward your furry friend for good behavior. All of these interactions will help when traveling.

Restraining your Pet – A traveling dog will run into many different circumstances where they will need to be restrained. If you run into an aggressive pet or someone who is not pet friendly, you must be able to control your dog. This is where your obedience commands will really pay off. Work on your commands when other pets are around (especially heeling). This will help your dog focus his attention on you, the leader. If you ever have doubts about a situation, restrain your pet.

Your Dog and Unfamiliar Circumstances

When your pet is traveling they will run into many unfamiliar circumstances. To prepare for these circumstances, introduce your pet to as many new environments as possible prior to travel. Here are some ideas:

• Leave them with a relative or friend for a day or two.
• Take them to a pet friendly restaurant and/or hotel.
• Let them join in for car rides.

All of these preparations will help your pet cope with the anxiousness and stress that comes with unfamiliarity. Remember; teach your dog good travel manners prior to traveling. You don’t want to battle with these issues when you’re miles from home.

For more information on pet travel go to www.PetTravel.com.

Pet Safety: Keeping Your Pet Safe During New Years Celebrations

Pet safety at New Years CelebrationsNew Years Eve – A time to celebrate all of the great times you had the past 12 months and to anticipate all of your life’s journeys for the upcoming year. What better way to ring in the New Year than with your pet? However, with pet safety in mind, there are precautions a pet owner must take to insure that a dog or cat stays out of danger or does not get lost while the ball drops. When making your resolutions, resolve not to start the New Year looking for a lost pet.

This Friday, will be one of the nosiest days of the year, guaranteed. Keep in mind that most animals are very sensitive to noise. Although there probably will be no way to shut out the noise entirely, there are certainly ways to help. First, make sure to secure anxious pets, ideally inside with you. Also, make sure they have a “safe” place to go if they get stressed and never scold a nervous pet. This will make the stress worse. If you won’t be home, confine your pet to a small room or enclosed area with music or television playing.

It is strongly recommended to bring outdoor pets inside for the night. Even the most street-smart pets can get frantic during loud celebrations like New Years. Too frequently we take our furry friends for granted. It is not worth taking the risk even if your pet is used to loud noises or commotions.

In no way should your pet be mixed in with firework celebrations. This is an ingredient for disaster. This will almost always lead to a lost and/or injured pet. If you plan on a light show, don’t take the risk. Keep your pets inside where they will be safe and sound.

Prior to celebrating would be a good time to make sure all identification tags and microchip information is accurate. If your pet isn’t micro chipped, having one inserted before New Years might not be a bad idea. Remember to update your microchip registration if you’ve moved or changed phone number.

If your pet is scared of their shadow, you might be in for a long night. Light sedatives might help reduce the stress during peak periods, but stay away from tranquilizers. Consult your veterinarian for options for your frightened furry friend.

With a little “puparation”, you and your pet can look forward to a happy 2011 together. Everyone at PetTravel.com wishes both you and your pet a very happy and healthy 2011.

Giving a Pet as a Holiday Gift

Giving a pet as a holiday giftGiving a pet as a gift can be a thrilling moment, but you should think twice before getting carried away during the holidays. A very sad fact is that, each year, thousands of animals given as holiday presents end up in shelters, abandoned, given away or worse. Here is a list of do’s and don’ts, so the pet and the person it’s been “gifted” to have the best chance of success.

Do: Is the recipient a “pet person?” As hard as it may seem for a pet lover, there are individuals who do not feel comfortable around animals. Animals can sense this, and the chances for bonding are affected. Maybe they are more of a cat person than a dog person. Note the recipient’s behavior around your pet. Are they welcoming your pet’s advances to meet them? Do they speak to your pet when greeting them? These are all good clues to measure the level of comfort that the recipient will have for a pet.

Do: Make sure the person is able to care for a pet: Giving a pet as an “unexpected” gift is NEVER a good idea. This is a major reason why “Christmas” gifts end up at a shelter. Consider these questions before purchasing a pet as a gift:

  • Is the recipient ready to participate in managing all aspects of the responsibilities of a pet owner, each and every day?
  • Is the recipient willing to provide opportunities for the pet to run, walk, and play every single day?
  • Does the recipient understand that a dog will need consistent training to learn to become a good canine or feline citizen?

Don’t: Give a pet as a gift to children without parental consent: This is a big no-no on many different levels. Sooner or later, the parent will be the primary caretaker of the pet so it is important that they are aware of your intention. Also, a pet is not a toy. It is a living, breathing creature that needs a responsible, caring and loving owner. Make sure these necessities can be met before even considering a pet as a gift.

Do: Make preparations for the new pet: This involves preparing the recipient’s house by hiding harsh chemicals, electric cords, anything breakable, etc. Establishing an area for your pet to relax and sleep is recommended. Also, make sure you locate the nearest vet and emergency centers just in case of an accident and include that information in your gift card.

Don’t: Make an impulsive purchase: Adopting a pet should be a conscious decision. You can find puppies for sale at many different places such as over the internet (watch for scams), at the mall, or from a local breeder, and making an impulse choice to buy a pet almost always ends in disaster. Did you know many shelters ban pet adoptions during the holiday season for this very reason?

Do: Consider a Shelter or Rescue Pet: In no way are pets from breeders superior to pets from shelters. Not only are you saving a pet’s life, your companion will be forever loyal knowing that you saved their life. If you are looking for a purebred exclusively, check out breed specific local rescues. Additionally, oftentimes older pets are less work than puppies and are already trained. Remember, the purchase price does not reflect the quality of the animal. It is all about second chances.

Don’t: Just buy any dog for anybody: As an example, a pitbull puppy most likely won’t be the best option for an 80 year old grandmother. Be sure to take account breed type, physical attributes and other variables in the pet’s personality. Remember, adding a puppy to your life is, on average, a 15-year responsibility.

When the glamour of the holidays wears off, there is a little soul, that will be looking to its owner for support and love. Make sure that the love will be there for them in carefully selecting their new owner.

How to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe in Winter

Dog in winter snowWinter weather is either on its way, or already here depending on where you live. With winter comes snow and freezing temperatures, so it’s time to think about how to keep your dog or cat safe in winter. While the weather outside is frightful, these winter pet tips can keep your precious pets snug, safe, and warm.

When is it time to bring your pets inside?
Unless your pet is a breed that is heavily coated and accustomed to living in cold environments, when the temperature falls below 32 degrees Fahrenheit it is time to provide shelter for them to keep them safe from frostbite and hypothermia. If possible, bring them inside with you. Just remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet.

What if I cannot bring my pet inside?
If not in your home, then make a warm place for them in your garage or provide them with a draft-free shelter. The floor of the shelter should be raised from the routnd. You should cover the floor of  the dog house with strawor provide bedding such as self warming pet pads and other insulating material. The door should be covered with plastic or other wind blocking, water-proof material. Check their water frequently and feed them more than normal as they will need the fuel to keep themselves warm.

Keeping Your Pet Warm: Many people misunderstand the purpose of an animal’s coat of fur. Although it may be plush and beautiful, it is not always the perfect insulator, and if your pet has short-hair or hairless, they are even more vulnerable to the cold. To help prepare your pet for warmth, start with a dry, draft-free shelter with plenty of food and water.

Pet Clothes: Good or Bad Idea: The real answer is: It depends. There is nothing wrong with dressing your dog for the season, as long as it does not inhibit breathing or movement. Cute clothes for cats are usually not a good idea. They are more stubborn than dogs and could actually do more harm than good. In cold weather, keep cats (even outdoor ones) inside with a warm blanket and they should be fine.

Keep the Outdoor Adventurers Inside: If you have a dog that spends most of its time romping in your backyard, or a kitty that whiles away the day in a sunny patch on the front porch, winter’s arrival may be a rude awakening. Pets are at risk of getting frostbite or hypothermia just like a human. If your pet has been playing in the snow, make sure to protect their paws from salt or antifreeze spills with booties or petroleum jelly before they go out.  Very important to clean their paws, ears and coat when returning inside.

Protect your cat in winterTis the Season for Poisons: Coolant and/or Anti-freeze can spill in the parking lot, garage or driveway and are EXTREMELY poisonous to pets. Unfortunately, dogs love the smell and taste. So, it is important to keep an eye on them when around these areas. Wipe paws, legs and stomach when returning from the rain, sleet, or ice. If your dog licks rock salt, call your veterinarian immediately.

Save a Cat: Cats love to be warm and cozy, especially in the winter. Since they don’t know any better, what better place than an engine compartment? This unfortunate accident causes numerous cat deaths a year. Save a life this year by banging loudly on your hood. This will give any sleeping cats a chance to vacate before turning over the motor.

Report a Crime

What to do if you see a dog or cat left outside in extremely cold temperatures. We encourage you to contact local law enforcement agencies because leaving pets outside in cold temperatures is a crime, especially without shelter. Their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges. One of the most common forms of animal cruelty are animals left outside in in winter weather and these cases are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Do your part and gently remind the owner or report the abuse to local authorities.

It doesn’t take much to keep your dog or cat safe in winter when things get frosty. Just like us, our feline and canine friends need shelter, warmth, food, and care. When winter’s chill sends you scurrying indoors, don’t forget your furry four-footed pals and their simple needs this season.

Pet Travel: How to Clear Airport Security with a Pet

Clearing pets through TSA securityYou and your pet are traveling in the cabin of an airplane together. You have checked in at the reservation desk, your pet is quietly lying down in their airline compliant pet carrier, you have tickets and possessions in hand. Everything is going according to plan. You proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. As you wait in the line, you wonder – what is coming next? How will TSA officials deal with your furry traveling companion?

PetTravel has received many questions about how people traveling with pets will be treated once they get to the front of the security line. Certainly, with all the confusion at security checkpoints and the flow of passengers intent on clearing the line and proceeding to their gate as quickly as possible, it is helpful to know how you and your pet will be cleared through security.

According to TSA: “Our security procedures do not prohibit you from bringing a pet on your flight. You should contact your airline or travel agent, however, before arriving at the airport to determine your airline’s policy on traveling with pets.”

Security Screening

More from TSA: “You will need to present the animal to the Security Officers at the checkpoint. You may walk your animal through the metal detector with you. If this is not possible, your animal will have to undergo a secondary screening, including a visual and physical inspection by our Security Officers. Your animal will NEVER be placed through an X-ray machine. However, you may be asked to remove your animal from its carrier so that the carrier can be placed on the X-Ray machine.”

You will be asked to remove your pet from the carrier so that the carrier can be run through the x-ray machine. You will walk through the upright metal detector with your pet. If you are traveling with a pet who is high spirited or scares easily, you can request a room so that your pet will not escape should you not be able to contain them when out of the carrier or get them back in the carrier once clearing security. You should allow extra time for this.

There has been a lot of news lately regarding the introduction of the controversial body scanners in many airports. If the old stand up metal detectors have been replaced with body scanners, both the pet and the owner are subject to pat down. Again, you will remove the pet from the carrier and make it available to security officers should they decide to inspect your pet. Should you require a pat down, you should put your pet back in the carrier first.

Being prepared is key to traveling with your pet. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate. Keep your accessories (coat, purse, laptop or other items you must carry) at a minimum so you will have free hands to handle your pet at security checkpoints. Take your pet out of the carrier after you have removed your shoes, belt, etc. and put your items on the table to be scanned. Be sure and carry a non-metallic leash in the carrier to loop around your wrist to be sure that your pet cannot escape when you remove them from the carrier. Even calm pets can get nervous and scared when around groups of people and in unfamiliar environments.

You can either carry your pet or let it walk beside you through the scanner. Once cleared, you can put your cat or dog back in the carrier.

We would welcome your feedback about your experiences at security checkpoints. Please make a comment so that you can help others who are traveling with their pet. We appreciate your time.

More information on pet travel by air

Pet Health: Enjoy Thanksgiving Holidays with Your Pet

Dog at ThanksgivingThe holiday season is in full swing and the next stop is Thanksgiving. There are so many things to be thankful for: family, friends, food, and of course our pets! With all the commotion of Thanksgiving sure to be upon us in the next few weeks it is important remember our furry friends and how we can provide a safe, fun and memorable holiday for everyone. Below is a list of “Turkey Tips” to make sure your Thanksgiving goes as pleasant as possible.

Stuff the Turkey, NOT your Pet: Most of us are guilty (at one time or another) of feeding our pets at the table. This is a bad idea on a few levels. Not only does it send the wrong message to your pet, it could be harmful to their digestive system. Extra precautions must be taken on turkey day. Rich fatty foods such as turkey, gravy, etc. can cause pancreatitis. This is caused by an inflammation of the digestive gland and can be very serious. If your pet is used to getting a few table scraps that is OK, as long as it is in moderation. Also remember with it being a holiday, many animals clinics will be closed. This is an easy way to avoid disaster this holiday.

Discarding the Turkey Strings that Tied the Legs: Believe it or not, this is a major cause for pet emergencies on Thanksgiving. This includes aluminum foil, turkey pop ups, skewers, string, oven bags, whole lead seasonings plastic wrap, and wax paper. Most of these cooking materials are probably drizzling with turkey juice and a major target for your pet. One trick is to put them in a sheet of unused foil as you prepare your dishes then wrap them up and place in the garbage that has a tight fitting lid. The foil will minimize the smell.

Make No Bones About It: Bird Bones (geese, turkey, duck and other birds) can present a huge health risk for your pet. They are hollow and break/splinter very easily. Also, because they are so easily breakable, dogs usually won’t chew them thoroughly. The results are sharp pieces that can choke the dog or block or tear the intestines.

Secure the Garbage Can: If you haven’t noticed already, pets can be scavengers and will wolf down anything that resembles edible eye candy, especially if it smells good. Dogs are especially infamous for “dumpster diving” and very sneaky about their approach. Keep one eye on your pet after the food has been cleaned up and thrown away.

Minimize Stress With the Same Routine: Even though you are frantically planning for the holidays it is important not to change your pet’s food or exercise schedule. These daily activities become a routine for your pet and neglecting this might cause him/her to become insecure. Add this to the crowds and commotion of Thanksgiving, and you could be unintentionally increasing your pets stress level.

If you will be traveling with your pet, preparation is the key. Getting your pet ready for travel is essential to a comfortable trip. Whether by car or air, your pet will need to be restrained in a carrier, booster seat, harness or crate. Get all your supplies together including your pet’s food and toys. Familiar things will make it easier for your pet when they are removed from their familiar surrounds. Many more hints on how to travel successfully with a pet can be found in our pet travel articles section.

Be truly thankful this Turkey Day by keeping your pets safe and healthy. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at PetTravel.com!

Pet Travel: Air Canada clarifies policy on emotional support and psychiatric service animals

Air CanadaAir Canada has issued a clarification on their definition of emotional support (ESA) and psychiatric service animals. This is the first airline to address this classification of animal. Here is their policy:

Dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals
If you wish to travel with a dog* as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you will need to ensure that your animal is harnessed. More than 48 hours prior to departure, you must also provide supporting documentation in the form of an original letter on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional (e.g. a psychologist, psychiatrist or licensed clinical social worker), dated within one year of your departure date.

The letter must confirm that:

    • You have a mental or emotional disability recognized by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
    • You need your dog for emotional or psychiatric support during travel and/or at destination
    • The person who prepared the document is a licensed mental health professional

You are currently under the care of the licensed mental health professional who prepared the document

The letter must also provide information on the mental health professional’s license (i.e. type of licence, date issued, and issuing authority).
*NOTE: Air Canada does not accept animals other than dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals. ESAs are accepted only on flights to or from the United States or flights with an Air-Canada operated flight through a US-based airline.

More information on Air Canada pet policies.

Pet Safety: Keeping Your Pet Safe on Halloween

Dog at HalloweenOctober marks the beginning of fall. This means cool nights, colder temperatures, and who can forget, Halloween! It is a time for our kids to become two legged monsters, ghouls, superheroes, and princesses, to enjoy friends, trick-or-treating and lots of candy. But what about our four legged kids? Loud noises, poisonous foods, and hazardous decorations are just a few reasons to keep an eye on your pet over the holiday. To insure everyone has a “fiendishly” good time here are suggestions for keeping your pet safe on Halloween.

Candy Anyone?

Sweets and treats are for the kids not your pets. This is one of the most common traumatic accidents that can happen to your pet on Halloween. Chocolate especially can pose a serious threat to your pet’s health. Pets who consume chocolate can experience vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, irregular heartbeat, tremors, seizures and even death. The ingredient that is most harmful to pets is theobromine. If your pet has consumed a large amount of chocolate or any other sweet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Watch Out!

Is your pet an escape artist? Watch them! With trick-or-treaters coming and going all night you will probably be opening your front door many times. The constant screaming and/or costumes could possibly induce stress for your pet. Constantly check for your pet each time you open and close your door and be sure that your pet has identification tags should they take off after Dracula. Additionally, know your pet’s tolerance for strangers at the door. Even the most familiar faces will be strange to your pet with masks and makeup. Isolate your pet in a closed room if you know it will be a disturbance to your visitors.

Costume Mania

Be considerate of your pet if you dress them up in costumes. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners will spend over $200 million this season on holiday costumes for pets, dressing up almost 11.5% of their furry friends. Costumes that limit mobility or visibility for an animal will certainly not make your pet happy. Depending on your dog’s breed and size, delicate costumes with beads and decorations should be closely monitored to make sure pets do not ingest things that they shouldn’t.

Costumes are cute, but be careful! Let’s face it, everyone loves a cute pet costume but make sure your pet does too! Make sure the costume does not limit their movement, comfort, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark or drink. Introduce them to the costume at home before Halloween so you can observe their behavior, ensure they are comfortable and be sure the costume does not restrict their movement.

For those pet owners living in warmer climates, the costume should not overheat your dog.

Remember a simple Halloween bandana might be a better idea than dressing your pet from head to tail.

In all cases, don’t remove your pet’s collar with its ID tag. Make sure your contact information is current for your pet’s microchip just in case a scary moment allows for a dash into the dark.

Spooky Decorating

Don’t let decorations lead to disasters. Be careful with Jack-O-Lanterns and candles. They can easily be pushed over or burn your pet if left in reach. Also, wires and chords for decorations could be harmful. If chewed, a wire can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock. A bit of common sense goes a long way when it comes to pet safety.

Cat owners need to especially watch for wrappers: Cats love to play with a lot of things they shouldn’t; this is no different for candy wrappers. (I catch my cat Noodles playing with wrappers all the time) If a cat ingests aluminum foil or cellophane it can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting or worse.

Trick or Treating

If your pet accompanies you and your friends or children, have an adult hold the leash. Children as so distracted during this ritual and should not be given the responsibility of holding the family dog during the trek for treats.

Use a non-retractable, traditional leash which will provide more control over your dog’s behavior.

Also, keep your dog on the street while your tricksters go to the door to get their treats. This will help to avoid any chance meetings with another pet residing in the treater’s house.

Being responsible with your furry children doesn’t mean they can’t have fun! A great idea is to keep your pets treats handy for when they want to indulge as well. Pet safety is always important, but especially during spooky times like Halloween!