Safety Archives - Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC

Fireworks and Pets

Fireworks and Pets Mix Like Oil and Water.

fireworks and pets

Fireworks and pets

No doubt any pet owner who did not already know that fireworks scare the heck out of pets has learned that fact the last few days.

We have three dogs of our own and are also professional pet sitters.  During the last few days we have seen far too many anxious dogs and cats.  I am distressed that the thoughtless illegal actions of others have troubled so many pets and people. It’s truly distressing to be taking care of pets in a house that sits on a thumbnail sized lot with houses so close you could practically touch them if you stretched your arms out. In one instance I had taken a dog out to “do her business.” Just as she squatted a huge BOOM went off. The poor dog stopped in her tracks and did not relieve herself out of fear.

A neighbor had left his dog tied up outside. The pitiful sounds of the dog whimpering and whining broke my heart. The cats inside the house went into hiding.

Certainly we don’t want to destroy anyone’s fun. But apparently many people have differing definitions of fun. However; I cannot define “fun” as an activity that causes extreme anxiety and fear in pets and also causes severe trauma for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For someone to define this action as “fun” demonstrates their level of immaturity.

More about those issues later in this post, but for now I want to focus on what we as pet owners can do to reduce the fear and stress our pets feel over the sound and sight of fireworks.

Fireworks and Pets:  How Can we Help Our Pets On July 4 and New Year’s Eve

Let’s face it, we most likely will not be able to get our neighbors to refrain from setting off fireworks.  There’s no point in banging our heads against the wall.  Instead, let’s get prepared for dealing with fireworks and pets.  Here are my top ten ideas.

  1. Talk with your neighbors in a friendly manner.  Find out what their plans are and when they plan to set off their fireworks. Tell them you need to know so that you can prepare your pets or plan on being away from home for awhile.
  2. Ask your neighborhood association to send out a notice suggesting that celebrations be confined to one night only each season….ideally on July 4 and New Year’s Eve. Approach this in a solution focused manner to reduce the need for anyone to fee defensive.
  3. Speak up at neighborhood meetings and discuss the realities of the issues around fireworks and pets. Let people know that some pets shake and drool uncontrollably, some pets try to escape their crates or even their homes. Dogs have been known to escape fences if outside when fireworks start. Any human who has ever experienced an anxiety attack is sure to be able to relate to how horrible that feels to the pet. Maybe I’m still just a little hopeful that folks will change their ways!
  4. If your dogs like car rides consider driving around in the country side where there are less likely to be fireworks displays.  Make sure you have the car radio on and bring along some chew toys for your dogs.
  5. Research camp grounds and find out where dogs are allowed and where traditionally fireworks have not been set off.  Once you know, take off on that camping trip. fireworks and pets
  6. For those of you that don’t like to go camping and for those of you with pets that don’t travel well (cats, birds, fish) learn how to make your home a fortress from loud noises. If you have a basement, that’s probably the best spot.  Turn on window air conditioners and fans to generate noise. Invest in a “white noise” machine.  Turn on the TV or stereo with the kind of music you already know is helpful to your pets. Use heavy curtains to help block noise and flashes of light.
  7. Give your dog something to occupy himself.  For food motivated dogs a frozen stuffed kong is ideal. We really like these ideas from Lynnette Walczak. Engage your cat in play. Pull out that laser light or play with a flirt pole to occupy his attention.
  8. Check out calming products for your cats and dogs. Not all products will be effective on all pets so you will need a little trial and error. Some of our favorites include the Thundershirt (they make them for cats too), Adaptil collars and diffusers (for dogs), Sentry Calming Collars (for dogs and cats), Feliway diffusers for cats, Music Through a Dog’s Ear/Cat’s Ear, Bach’s Flower Rescue Remedy and Nature’s Miracle Cat Calming Spray.
  9. If the environmental efforts you made and the calming products you tried did not work, consult your veterinarian for a prescription medication to calm and sedate your pet during the most stressful events
  10. Remember, this too shall pass.  Try to stay as calm as you can because we know that our pets respond to our moods also.

 

Fireworks and Military Combat Veterans

We promised to address the issue of combat veterans and fireworks too.  Here are our thoughts.

fireworks and pets

Combat Veteran Lives Here

Imagine my horror when I read a post in Next Door from someone who apparently had a large fireworks display in their yard.  The individual defended their actions as being patriotic due to her husband’s past military service. I am proud of my father, uncles and even one aunt who served in the military during WWII, another uncle who served in the US Army during the Korean conflict and my husband who served in the US Air Force for 22 years.

However; service in the military truly does not justify distressing others with illegal actions.  Far too many of our former and retired service members served in combat and continue to suffer from the ill effects many years later.  My own father was traumatized and I know many more were also.

The little things truly can make a difference.  Most veterans with PTSD are happy for you to celebrate with fireworks on July 4. To be courteous, please confine the celebrations to one night, July 4.  Please don’t make a week long celebration out of it.  Also know that many combat veterans prefer not to place a sign in their yard.  If they do place a sign be sure to honor it and warn them of your plans. That way the veteran can either leave home for the evening, take anti anxiety medication, turn up the music or do what ever he or she needs to do to ward off the crippling anxiety attack.

For those who think they are honoring military veterans with fireworks, perhaps it’s time to consider a different way to honor our veterans.  The thoughts expressed by many veterans regarding Memorial Day on the Task & Purpose web page are a good start.  One comment in particular rang true with me.

I understand the sentiment and the desire to convey appreciation. Rather than thank me, however, I would prefer people to take moment and think about the original November 11, in 1918. After a horrific campaign, the endless shelling, gassing, and gunfire ceased at 11 am, replaced with the first silence that the battlefields of World War I had heard in four years. Think of the shock and limitless thankfulness the soldiers felt as they heard birds chirping, something we hear and take for granted every day. They had survived hell, and could be reunited with their families. These men carried the scars of war with them forever, as do veterans of all conflicts. —Angry Staff Officer, U.S. Army National Guardsman

Another statement addressed the issue of service as follows.

With regards to being thanked for my service, no one should be under any obligation to do so. If they want to, that’s fine, although ask about my experiences, the people, the conditions. The real, honest stories we share truly help people understand a concept so foreign (literally and figuratively) to them. If they truly feel the need to thank and support service members, I would encourage them to find a veteran’s group or organization and help them out however they can. —Kyle Dykstra, U.S. Army veteran

Common Courtesy

Common courtesy goes a long way in addressing the concerns. For those of you who enjoy setting off fireworks in your yard, please consider the issues and needs of your neighbors (humans, dogs, cats and birds). For those of us who love and care for pets and humans suffering from PTSD, think proactively about how to approach your neighbors in a non confrontational manner. Be prepared with the actions and products that can most help your pets and you get through these difficult holidays. For me, July 4 will always be difficult because my father took his own life 16 years ago on July 4.  Little did we know that he had always hated July 4. Only after his death did we learn that he had taken out an entire company of men one July 4 during WWII.  I make sure not to knowingly engage in anything stressful on July 4 and simply take care of myself and my family the best way I can. May you do the same.

 

 

What Is There to do Around Lake Norman This Weekend?

 

Around Lake Norman This Weekend

Are you looking for something to do around Lake Norman this weekend?  Well look no more.  We have found loads to do around Lake Norman this weeekend and every weekend in October!!  Some of the events are specifically for you and your dog to enjoy.  Others are for you to enjoy but require that you leave your pets at home. Please be sure to check the details from the event website to know the rules.  Proceeds from all the events go toward great programs around Lake Norman so you get to have a great time while supporting a worthy cause.




There are 3 Exciting Things to Do Around Lake Norman This Weekend – October 10, 2015

There are three, count ’em 3 great events going on around Lake Norman this weekend. They range from events greated toward the kids at a school in Mooresville, a run and adoption fair for pets in Davidson and a blow out delicious meal in Cornelius.  Proceeds benefit a school tutoring program, the capital campaign for a state of the arts dog and cat adoption facility and wildlife.  Events are free, low priced and expensive. Take your pick and whatever you do have a great time!!

When:  Saturday, October 10, 2015  –  2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

What:    2nd Annual East Mooresville Intermediate School Fall Festival

Where:  1711 Landis Hwy, Mooresville, NC  28115 –  2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Details:  The  2nd Annual East Mooresville Intermediate School’s Fall Festival! This year will be bigger than ever! They will have multiple food trucks which include Maki Taco, Bebo’s American Bistro, Wingz on Wheelz, Robbinos Concession, Deluxe/Front Porch Ice Creams, Tastebuds Popcorn at the Lake. Face Painting, massage chair vendor, multiple inflatables and bounce houses and games galore. A silent auction with raffle baskets will be onsite! Many games and TONS of vendors! Purchase pre-event wrist bands for unlimited games for just $8.00  or $10.00 at the event. 

Cat Basket

Items for your cat: Value over $130.

Speaking of those raffle baskets, check out this photo to see the cat basket we donated. If you have a cat this is an opportunity to win a basket valued at over $130 for much less money while you have a great time, grab something to eat and support the tutoring program at East Mooresville Intermediate School.  

The cat basket holds a cat bed, two food/water bowls, 3 cans of cat food, 12 toys, 2 Nature’s Miracle products, dental chews, slicker brush, nail clippers, collar and even a lint brush for the humans.

We will be at the event with a booth and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our pet sitting and dog walking services. 



When:  Saturday, October 10 –  9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

What:  5th Annual Pawz Too Run

Where:  The Green in Downtown Davidson, 119 S. Main Street, Davidson, NC

Details:  The event includes the Celebrated Dog Walk  3K (1.8 miles) or 1.5K (.9 miles); Dog Contests with Prizes, Individual and Team Awards; Vendor Fair on Health & Wellness for People and Pets; Animal Rescue Agencies with Dogs to Adopt; Live Music in the afternoon; Kid’s Inflatable Bounce House; Dog Washing Station courtesy of Davidson College Pre-Vet Society; Dog Bandanas for Participants and Opportunity Drawings.

Friends of the Animals

Architectural Rendering of Friends of the Animals State of the Art Facility

 

 

 

Funds raised will help Friends of the Animals build a state-of-the-art facility to save more homeless dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in the greater Lake Norman region. Your support will help them to start construction.

 

 

 

 



When:  Saturday, October 10, 2015 – 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

What:  Lake Norman Wildlife Oyster & Shrimp Festival

Where: LangTree Lake Norman

Details: The seventh annual event kicks off at 5 o’clock on the evening of Saturday, October 10th, 2015 at LangTree Lake Norman. Come out and support local wildlife conservation efforts while enjoying live music, wine and local craft beer from D9 Brewing, auctions, and tons of family fun! As always, Big Daddy’s of Lake Norman will be serving up some of the best oysters, shrimp and BBQ in the Carolinas!

Ticket price is $50 per person. Stayed tuned to Facebook for more announcements in the coming week to learn more about how to purchase tickets, receive member discounts, volunteer for the fest, and much more!

Oyster & Shrimp Festival

Oyster & Shrimp Festival

DON’T BE SHELLFISH – please come out and show your support for LNWC at the 2015 Lake Norman Wildlife Oyster & Shrimp Fest!

 

 




We Found Two Things to do Around Lake Norman This Weekend  –  October 16-18, 2015

These two events include an opportunity to visit Cornelius, listen to msuic while tasting beer and eating from one of the many food trucks that service the area around Lake Norman.  It’s a great example of beautiful local flavor.  The other option ranges over three days and is a spectacular event in Statesville with national renown.



When: Saturday, October 17, 2015   –   4:00 PM – 9:00 PM

What:  3rd Annual LaketoberFest Music & Brewfest

Where: Bailey Road Park, 11536 Bailey Road, Cornelius, NC

Details:  The Cornelius PARC Department and Bella Love  host this community event, featuring Live music from The Glass Hammers, Ben Gatlin Band and Pluto for Planet.  Six of Lake Norman’s top breweries and bottle shops including D9 Brewing Co., The Clown, Primal Brewing, Bayne, Cork and Cask and Old Town Public House and  15 great food trucks will be on hand, There will be a Cornhole tournament along with a Kid’s zone with crafts and games Admission and parking are free.  

Things to Do Around Lake Norman

Laketoberfest

Event proceeds benefit the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists. LNWC is a chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF) – a community based organization established for the purposes of environmental education, appreciation of wildlife and natural history, and conservation of wildlife habitat and natural resources. The Vision of the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists is to protect and enhance the natural resources and wildlife habitats of the greater Lake Norman area, for all to enjoy.



When:  16-18, 2015  –  10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

What:  21st Carolina BalloonFest

Where:   Statesville Regional Airport, 260 Hangar Drive, Statesville, NC 28677

Details: This popular event is held annually the third weekend of October.  Last year National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc donated over $82,000 to 25 local charities!

Be prepared with cash for your purchases and plan to arrive early as traffic will be heavy. There will be 10+ music groups of various music genres; hot air balloon launches and hot air balloon rides;  Kids Zone with Inflatables*, Bungee Jump, Climb Wall, Walk-in Balloon & Magic Shows; Wine & Craft Beer Tasting Garden; Canine Agility Exhibition and lots of food and beverage vendors!
* inflatables & walk-in balloon are weather dependent


If you have never witnessed a hot air balloon mass launch this is a must see.  If you have been before you know how much fun it will be. Check out Carolina Balloon Fest for all the details.

balloonfest




When:  Saturday, October 25, 2015  (Actually October 4 –  November 22, 2015)

What:  Carolina Renaissance Festival

Where:  16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville, NC 28078

The Renaissance Festival is a 16th century European style art and entertainment festival combining outdoor theater, circus entertainment, arts and crafts marketplace, a jousting tournament, a feast fit for royalty, and much much more.

The Carolina Renaissance Festival was introduced in 1994 with six acres of exhibits, attractions and entertainment. The event has grown into a twenty acre theme park filled with charming cottages and castles, kitchens and pubs, and a most unusual collection of people powered rides and games of skill – all nestled in 325 acres of pristine woodlands just north of Charlotte, NC.

The Carolina event has grown to be one of the largest of the Renaissance fairs nationwide. Tree lined lanes are filled with over 100 purveyors of crafts and food, and non-stop music and comedy shows are presented on 11 stages every event day.

This is one of the most interactive entertainment shows ever created with wonderful amusements and antics ongoing all around you! You can sit back and watch, or you can become a part of the action, surrounded by over 500 costumed characters roaming the festival village. The village lanes are full of peasants singing sea-faring songs and street entertainers surprising you with tall tales and tricks, each with a role to play.

You can experience the clashing of armor and the thundering of hooves daily with full combat jousts at the King’s Tournament Arena.




When:  Saturday, October 31, 2015  –  Noon- 4:00 PM

What:  The Great Chili Cookoff

Where:  Mooresville Town Square, 279 Williamson Road, Mooresville, NC

Details: Sponsored by The Rotary Clubs of Mooresville-Lake Norman, Mooresville, Top of the Lake and Troutman.

Drenching rains have postponed this event three times but it’s always a hit. There will of course be loads of chili but lots of other food and craft vendors as well. Entertainment will be provided by Back Road. Back Road is a collection of 5 talented musicians with years of experience playing Country Rock Music in front of major recording artists across a variety of genera. Back Road has been the house band at the Frontier Bar in Gastonia for nearly two years.

Great Chilli Cook-Off

Great Chilli Cook-Off

All proceeds from this event benefit local programs such as Health Reach, Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), The School Backpack Project AKA Food for Days, and other charities supported by the four Rotary clubs hosting the event. The 2014 event attracted over 4,000 people and $50,000 for charities supported by Rotary.

 

 



When: Saturday, October 10, Saturday, October 17, Saturday, October 24, Saturday, October 31 –  11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

What:  Rescue Ranch Fall Fun Days

Where:  Rescue Ranch  –  1424 Turnersburg Highway Statesville, NC 28625

Fall Fun Days events include arts & crafts, hay art, hay rides, a scarecrow contest, a straw maze and more!  Be sure to get in touch ahead of time to learn how to enter a Scarecrow in the Scarecrow Contest, be a vendor and to learn about  sponsorship opportunities!


$5.00 per person, not including pumpkin painting or food and beverage.

 

Fall Fun Days

Fall Fun Days




 

 

Enjoy the Fall around Lake Norman!!

It’s a Delicate Subject…but….we all need to pick up the dog poop.

…we all need to pick up the dog poop.

billy_ray_cyrus_1760aj5-1760akh

Not only is it disgusting to step in, but it’s unsanitary. Do you really want your dogs to carry waste back inside your house on their paws? Do you really want to carry it inside on the soles of your shoes? What about your children and their hand to mouth habit? Do you know that dog poop frequently contains E. coli, tapeworms, roundworms, giardia, parvo, salmonella, hookworms and a host of other horrors?  YUCK!!  That’s why …we all need to pick up the dog poop.

 

PICK-UP-POO

Then there is the matter of pollution of our waterways.  Dog waste left in your yard, at the local park or on the trails at Lake Norman State Park will make its way into the water.  According to the EPA the decaying of your pets’ poop creates nutrients that weeds and algae thrive on. These unwanted plants choke out the oxygen and do harm to the fish.

It is really pretty simple to use a scoop in your own yard or doggie waste bags on your walk. The unused waste pick up bags can be tied on your dog’s leash, or carried in your waist pack. You can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket too. Simply stop when the dog goes potty, pick up the waste with the plastic bag over your hand and turn the bag inside out and tie it shut. Deposit in the nearest public trash can.

earth-rated-poop-bags-300ct

I prefer the scented waste bags because dog poop really stinks, but the important thing is that you always carry pick up bags when you take your dog anywhere and that you regularly pick up your own yard (preferably every 24 hours). By the way, dog poop is not a good fertilizer for your yard so please don’t scatter it with your lawn mower. If you are not physically able to pick up the poop from your yard there are companies who provide this service. Please get that scooping going!!Cool

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell
Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC
www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

How to Transition Your Outdoor Cat to an Indoor Cat

outdorcar_tumblr_mckgddhtL81r8drkso1_500

Outdoor Cat

Are you ready to bring your outdoor cat inside to live? Great because outdoor cats, on average, live to age 5 while indoor cats may live into their late teens or early twenties. While you may not be able to transition a feral or barn cat, most cats can successfully make the adjustments. It will take patience and time but can be successfully done.

 

Indoor Cat

Be sure to provide scratching posts and pads for your kitty. To attract the kitty to the scratching post you may want to sprinkle some fresh catnip on it. Cat furniture that is sturdy and stable and has vertical and horizontal angles will be most appealing. Be sure your kitty has some perches where she can survey the outdoors.

 

 

cat scratching posy

cat scratching posy

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Locate her litter boxes away from her food and water bowls because cats are known for not wanting to eat in or near their own bathroom.  You need a litter box on every floor of your house the cat has access to and at least one more litter box than the number of cats you have.
Cats love to play no matter their age so provide safe and fun toys. Furry little mice toys and ping pong balls are great options. Avoid string though because it’s a choking hazard. When you are available to play with the kitty use laser pointers or feathers on a wand to engage your cat. Be sure to put out some paper bags or boxes because most cats love them. And be prepared to share your sink.

 

 

For more information consult The Cat Behavior Answer Book by Arden Moore Catbehaviorcover

or Indoor Pet Initiative of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

http://indoorpet.osu.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

 

Treats…Treats…We Love Treats

 Who doesn’t love feeding their dogs treats?

Yummy in my Tummy!

Yummy in my Tummy!

Pup-sickles

32 oz plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 T peanut butter
2 T honey

 

Blend all together and spoon into ice-cube trays (who remembers those?!?) or Dixie cups or egg cartons. Freeze until solid. Serve individually to your pups.

 

For those remaining hot days of summer plan on serving these out-of-doors (they are messy) for your pups to enjoy.
Human Foods

Carrots are tasty!

Carrots are tasty!

Your dogs may enjoy small bites of watermelon, berries, carrots, apples or cheese. Your cats might like zucchini, cantaloupe or leafy green veggies.

Is it my turn yet Mommy?

Is it my turn yet Mommy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our three dogs sit at attention politely waiting on a spoonful of plain fat-free Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.

 

Just remember that portion size matters and calories do count. Think 1/8 inch square for a cat or small dog and 1/4 inch square for a larger dog.

 

 
Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

 

 

Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August is steaming hot.  Let’s celebrate the special pet days and weeks in August for a little relief.

dog days of summerdownload
We’ve all experienced the dog days of summer.  We have no idea where the term came from.  Maybe it was because the heat and humidity makes us feel dog tired.  At any rate, we believe every day with our pets is special, but here are more reasons to celebrate those special pet days and weeks in August.  While you are at it, be sure to make some cooling pupsickles for your pets.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

This a great time to be sure our pets’ shots are up to date and to consult the the veterinarian about titers.

 Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August 3 – 9        International Assistance Dog Week

August 15            National Check the Chip Day

August 15            International Homeless Animals Day

August 22           National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

August 26           National Dog Day

 

Assistance dogs provide a necessary service for children in schools, wounded warriors and folks with hearing or vision impairments.  Without these highly trained dogs, the lives of many people would be barren and bleak.  Micro chipping our pets is a great way to improve the chances of a lost or stolen dog being returned home. That helps to reduce the likelihood of more homeless animals.

Cats are not known for liking to travel. Consider leaving your cat’s carrier out so she can go in and out of it at will.  that will make her trips to the vet a lot less traumatic.  You may also want to consider using a vet office that has separate entrances for cats and dogs or seeking the services of a mobile vet.

So, let’s enjoy the dog days of summer.

How to “Pill” a Cat

How to “Pill” a Cat

Does your cat need daily medication?  Does little Susie take her pills willingly? cat-sniffing-tablet

 

 

Yeah, that’s what we thought too.  Recently we had a new client who needed medication for an overactive thyroid two times a day.  We surely needed to know how to pill a cat.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, we both bravely tried to administer said meds.  Billy was bitten first.  So up next, your intrepid pet sitter # 2.  The first time I wore thick outdoor gloves and bravely followed the instructions of the kitty parent to pry open her mouth and put pill inside and then massage the side of her neck.  Success!  But all good things must come to an end.  The next morning said kitty hissed at Billy so he left her alone until the evening visit.   I tried to bond with said kitty while she hid out under the end table. So far….so good.  She even allowed me to pet her.  Then her Beagle siblings came out of their crates to greet her.  Still all was well.  Then I made the fateful mistake of trying to brush away a tiny speck of dust…….and she pounced!  Ouch went that sharp canine tooth into the flesh of my hand. Those puncture wounds hurt.  And in my case, caused an infection.  Within two hours you could see the swelling and red streaks.  So, off to the doc for a tetanus shot and an antibiotic shot followed by 7 days of oral antibiotics.

Time to do some research on how to give meds to a cat.  First up a conversation with a long time pet sitter.  She asked how I would feel if a stranger picked me up and tried to shove a pill down my throat.  Now, I GET it!!  Enter her two favorite methods altered slightly by me. Here is our new take on giving pills to cats who own our clients.

Preferred Method #1:  Put the pill in a teaspoon of canned cat food and place in kitty’s bowl.  We will heartily recommend this method to all our clients even if their kitty usually eats dry kibble.  Besides, we learned that kitties need some canned food every day because they don’t naturally drink enough water to keep their little bowels in prime shape.

Preferred Method # 2:  If the medication can safely be crushed and dissolved, we will dissolve it in a small amount of hot water.  Next we will pour some tasty tuna water in the solution and moisten a few pieces of kibble.

Short of those methods we will have to decline clients whose cats need pills.  We don’t want to traumatize any precious fur babies and we don’t ever again want to be bitten by a cat!!

by coddlecreekpetservices on January 5, 2014 at

Pet Safety at Halloween

cute-halloween-dog               With smart planning, Halloween can be a barrel full of fun and safe treats for pets and humans.

Halloween is loads of fun. However, joy can turn to tragedy if simple precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of your pets.

“Pets are curious by nature,” said Dr. Steve Hansen, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Hansen, whose department also includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, asks pet parents to be mindful of their pets this fall.

“Thinking about your home from your pet’s point of view will help ensure everyone has happy and safe holidays,” Hansen said. “Pets have the ability to get into everything, especially during the holidays when there is more to see and do.”

To ensure a happy and safe Halloween for you and your pets, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:

Ringing door bells and scary costumes  The constant chatter and squeals are upsetting to some pets.  If your dog or cat is skittish, confine them to a bedroom with the door shut and provide an interactive toy to keep them occupied.

Pet Costumes  Chances are Snoopy and Snuggles will not think a costume is very cute.  You know your pet better than anyone else so assess his comfort level.  You may need to take the costume off after the photo opportunity.  Be sure your pet will not overheat, the costume doesn’t have any dangly pieces that can easily be chewed off, and your pet can still breathe, meow and bark.

Escape artists Sometimes our best efforts are not enough and a pet gets out the door.  Make sure Fluffy and Rover are always wearing collars with identification.  If you have a microchip (we heartily recommend this) be certain you have registered with the microchip company and keep the information up to date.

Tricksters  Keep your pets indoors on Halloween even if that is not your normal custom.  Some adolescent tricksters think it is funny to scare your pet.  Funky costumes can freak out your pet even if not intentional.  Black cats are especially at risk on the weekends before and after Halloween as well as the actual day.

Candles  The glow of candles inside pumpkins is festive. But curious cats and dogs can easily be injured or create a fire hazard.  Be sure to keep a barrier between your pets and lighted decorations or use battery powered lights instead.

Dark and baker’s chocolate While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause your pet to have an upset stomach.  On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine.  Animals are extremely sensitive to both and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.

Xylitol This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly.  This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.

“Healthy treats” Some people choose to hand out grapes and raisins as an alternative to all the candy.  But be aware that grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion of these substances can lead to kidney failure for your dog or cat.  We don’t even want to think about what could happen with chocolate covered raisins!

Candy wrappers Your pets will not unwrap treats first and those foil and cellophane wrappers can cause an intestinal blockage.

It pays to plan ahead. Remind your children that pets’ digestive systems are easily upset or   compromised by food items humans can safely ingest. Be sure to have a ready supply of the treats your cats and dogs like and are accustomed to eating.  Remember to meet the needs of your cats and dogs for interactive play, attention, brushing and loads of walks for your dogs so they will be calm before the potentially frightful night begins

If your pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call your vet or a local emergency animal  hospital immediately. Other alternatives include the ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426- 4435 for a fee of $65.00 or the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 for a fee of $39.00.

Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC offers pet owners these helpful hints to keep pets out of danger, while still enjoying the food, fun and festivities that accompany Halloween.