Guelph Humane Society reminding pet parents to be vigilant on Halloween

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While going through the checklist of Halloween do’s and don’ts with the kids, the Guelph Humane Society is reminding pet parents to also be extra vigilant with their furry loved ones.

From an abundance of potential toxins in some of the treats to increased foot traffic at the front door, there are a number of safety concerns to consider this weekend, the agency said.

One safety concern that is less well-known are chip bags, said Guelph Humane Society’s intake and behaviour coordinator Melissa Stoltz.

Read more: Londoners gearing up for COVID-safe Halloween with trick-or-treating, Squid Game costumes a go

“Chips bags, treat bags, plastic bags, in general, create a suffocation risk,” she said.

“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.”

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Stoltz added that a pet can suffocate to death in less than five minutes in this predicament.

It’s also more common than some might think. The humane society said data isn’t available in Canada, but there are two to five pet deaths from bag suffocation every week in the United States.

The agency suggests cutting a hole in the bags before tossing them out.

“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,” Stoltz said.

“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.”

Some other reminders for pet parents from the humane society include keeping toxins like chocolate, grapes, raisins and products with a natural sweetener called xylitol away from animals.

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If your cat or dog likes to run out when the door is open, the agency suggests keeping them in a closed room during trick or treating hours.

It’s also recommended that outdoor cats stay 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.,” the humane society said. “Keep cats inside for their safety.”

If dogs get worked up by the doorbell ringing, the agency suggests having a plan in place to reduce barking.

Read more: Majority of Canadians hesitant to hand out Halloween candy to trick-or-treaters, poll suggests

This includes putting the dog in a part of the house where the doorbell isn’t as loud, turning on some music or white noise to drown out the sound of the doorbell and letting the dog play with a stuffed kong or some sort of food puzzle.

Homeowners could also put a sign over the doorbell asking people to knock instead.

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