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October 28, 2014

Halloween Safety Tips & DIY Car First Aid Kit- Great for Holiday Travel!

Eerie Ernestine

Not really, but all is possible around Halloween! (checkout the photo of me on the right hand side of this page — definitely the GOOD witch!)

I have listed some Halloween tips to keep your precious canines safe. They offer simple info that we might not think of.  In addition, thinking about the holiday road travel coming up in the next few months,  it’s a great idea to put together your own first aid/ safety kit for the car. And, just so you know– Crate Escape too has a couple of pooch seatbelts and harnesses and travel bowls available.

ernie on hardwoodbday

Later, Ernestine

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS

It’s great to be festive during this fun holiday, but remember that some decorations can pose dangers to your pets. Keep string lights around the house or cords from other electrical decorations out of reach of pets. If your cat or dog (or rabbit!) has the tendency to chew, adding a new item to the home may be especially enticing and pose the risk of electrocution. Other decorations — like fake blood, fake cobwebs, glow sticks, rubber decorations — can be poisonous or pose a choking risk. Your best bet is to keep all of these items out of reach of your pets.

CANDY

It’s not healthy for anyone — canine, feline or human — to ingest a large amount of candy. You might be intelligent enough to know not to eat an entire bowl of candy, but your pet is not. Candy can be toxic to your pets, especially if they are made of chocolate, raisins or candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol. Not to mention the paper or foil wrappers that Halloween candies are often wrapped in. Keep bowls of candy out of reach of your pets and keep a lid on them if you’re not home.

CHOCOLATE

Though chocolate could be considered under the candy category, it is so dangerous to dogs that it deserves it’s own entry. It only takes a small amount of chocolate to sicken or even kill a dog. Chocolate contains methylxanthine theobromine, which causes reactions within the body similar to caffeine — heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator, diuretic. Bowls of chocolate Halloween candies can be an inviting sight for pets, who likely won’t think twice about eating the entire bowl. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are considered the most dangerous, but for safety reasons, keep ALL chocolate away from your pet.

RAISINS

A health-conscious neighbor might hand out little boxes of raisins to trick-or-treaters. While there are healthy for you and your kids, they are highly toxic for pets. Even very small amounts of raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs and cats. Keep raisins away from pets and seek veterinarian treatment right away if you suspect your animal has ingested them.

COSTUMED STRANGERS

Even the most friendly dogs and cats can become stressed out by the constant flood of outrageously-costumed strangers coming to the door. You pet doesn’t understand the concept of Halloween, so seeing someone at the door dressed up or looking threatening can trigger a negative response. Allow only the most socialized animals free reign of the house, and keep others in a room away from all the commotion.

OPEN DOORS

Constantly opening the front door for trick-or-treaters can make it easier for your dog or cat to escape outside into the night, possibly unbeknownst to you. Ensure that any pet with the tendency to dart outside is properly secured within your home and that they have identification tags and microchips. This will increase the chance that your pet will be returned to you if it gets out.

How to Make a DIY Dog First-Aid Kit for Car Travel

Alissa Wolf  |  Dogster

Each year, about 30 million Americans take their pets along when they travel, with a whopping 76 percent traveling with their companion animals by car or other motor vehicle, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. The majority of the pets who hit the road are dogs, and those who plan to rove with Rover are well advised to plan ahead and take along certain first aid and safety items, and also to expect the unexpected.

First, learn how to securely restrain dogs in a vehicle

Before we list the first aid items you should take along for car trips with your pooches, we can’t overemphasize the importance of properly restraining dogs when traveling. Indeed, dogs who are permitted to sit on drivers’ laps, poke their heads out of car windows and otherwise move freely about a vehicle are responsible for causing tens of thousands of accidents each year.

Aside from distracting drivers, AAA points out that in the event of a collision, your pooch can act as a furry projectile with forces of 500 pounds or more. Many states have passed pet restraint laws and will heavily fine drivers whose pets are not properly secured in a vehicle. In New Jersey, pet parents can be fined from $250 to $1,000 for traveling with pets who are not properly restrained.

There are now a wide number of pet car-restraint products on the market, such as those available from companies like Kurgo and K9 Car Fence (pictured above), just to name a few. So please research and invest in a sturdy restraint expressly designed for traveling by motor vehicle with dogs.

Now, let’s get to your first aid kit:

Research dog first aid

The first things you should have in your dog first aid arsenal when traveling with canines by car is a good first aid manual.  There is the handy “Pet First Aid” guide released by the American Red Cross, which is now available as an app.. In addition, you should record the names, addresses and phone numbers of emergency veterinary facilities along your route and destination, as well as the number for a pet poison control hotline hotline. The ASPCA operates a 24-hour Animal Poison Control Center helpline at (888) 426-4435.

Items for your DIY dog car first aid kit

It is easy to put together your own first aid kit with items from dollar stores, pharmacies, and health food stores and keep them in a waterproof tote. You could also purchase a cute waterproof fabric lunch carrier with a dog motif so that you can easily store and identify this among your other travel effects. You might want to buy travel sizes or smaller travel bottles, which are less bulky, to store supplies in the kit.

Among the items your dog first aid kit should contain are:

*A very important note about hydrogen peroxide: Always check with a poison control hotline before administering this, as some toxic substances should not be regurgitated.

Dr. Cathy Alonovi of Indiana — who helped to develop a pet first aid kit for BARF World — also recommends adding some homeopathic apis for insect bites to your doggie kit. She further suggests the natural Bach Flower calming aid Rescue Remedy, and pure lavender oil to lightly sprinkle on a favorite blanket to soothe nervous dogs.

In addition, it’s a good idea to take along a supply of inexpensive wash cloths and a liquid soap such as castile, which is natural, safe and gentle, for cleaning cuts and abrasions, as well as dirty paws and other soiled doggie body parts. It’s best to avoid baby wipes, because these often contain harsh chemicals that may irritate a dog’s skin.

Water should be a part of your dog travel supplies

This is one suggestion you might not even have considered. It’s important to bring along water from home, as pooches (and other pets, for that matter) may develop upset tummies from drinking water that they are not used to. Or you could bring along bottled water. Don’t forget to pack some collapsible bowls for the water, and be sure to clean them thoroughly after each use.

Hitting the road with pooches can be a real adventure, and great fun — as long as you plan ahead, bring the right supplies and anticipate the unexpected.

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