Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #2

Avoid the Lost Pet Apocalypse
One Halloween tradition that can terrorize your pet is the dreaded night-stalking trick-or-treater. Even normally level-headed pets can get weirded out by all the strange, and strange-looking, humans appearing at your door. Cats and dogs are equally at risk for bolting out into the night.

Especially if your pet normally hides from visitors, make sure he or she is in a secure, safe place far from trick-or-treat “invaders.”
How can you tell if your dog is afraid? Here are some body-language cues. Watch for them!

Even normally-gregarious creatures can get freaked out by large groups of strangers. It’s usually best–both for the pets and for trick-or-treating children who may not be used to animals–if your animals are secured somewhere far from the door on Halloween.

Goes equally for other pets! Halloween night is a particularly bad time for an animal to be lost, because sometimes pranksters can be cruel.

The Top of Ohio Pet Shelter has posted a list of preventive measures you can take to protect your pet before s/he gets lost. Have you done all of these things for your best friend? If not, now’s a great time to do them!

You do NOT want your pet portrayed on a wall like this! But make sure you have photos in case s/he does get lost.

#1 Take pictures! 
Think “mug shots,” here. Take images from front and side(s), and any identifying marks, tattoos, or other characteristics that could be used to identify your pet on sight. Should the worst happen, you’ll be prepared to create posters, post on Facebook, etc.

A microchip can make the difference between losing your pet forever and getting him or her safely back home. 

#2 Microchip your pet!
It’s quick, almost painless, and getting less expensive the more people do this. It also is an extremely good way to make sure your pet can be identified.

Yes, it’s a “cat scan.” Microchipping is safe, and all vets and shelters now routinely scan lost pets for them.

#3 License your Pet 
It’s the law in most places, anyway–and another form of identification, should your pet become lost. An ID tag on the collar is another good idea.

Critterbling” on Etsy offers a cute ID tag–the other side can be engraved.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Pet Cat Health for the photo of the cat in hiding, and to the ASPCA for the quick photo-pictorial on frightened-dog body language. The “Please don’t let the Cat out” sign is from Scalawags Online, the pano-shot of the lost-pet posters is from The Humane Society of South Mississippi, the comparison of the dog microchip and the grain of rice is from the My Mini-Doxie website (devoted to Miniature Dachshunds). The “cat scan” photo is courtesy of Vet Co (New Mexico), and the clever “Have your people call my people” ID tag is from Critterbling, on Etsy.

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jansgephardt

Kansas City-based Jan S. Gephardt is a writer, artist, and teacher. She makes nationally-recognized paper sculpture and writes sf mystery novels about a sapient police dog.

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