Halloween, the spookiest, kookiest day of the year, is finally here! It’s time to bust out the glitter and fake blood, and dress up your pets in the cutest, cleverest costumes you can find. But wait—is trick-or-treat apparel really a good idea for your furry friends?
The ASPCA suggests putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it. Some pets love the limelight: wearing a costume and posing for pictures is a blast! Others prefer to stick to their birthday suits for all occasions, and being dressed like a pumpkin for their pet parents’ amusement can cause unnecessary stress.
If you decide to have your pet wear a costume, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the lion’s mane or superhero cape.
Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it doesn’t have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
IDs, please! Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, tags or a microchip can be lifesavers.
Who doesn’t love the Fourth of July? It’s a weekend for block parties, barbeques, belly-flops in the pool and parades—all best when enjoyed with friends and family, and even better when you have the day off to celebrate with your pets! Have fun, but remember that certain traditional Independence Day activities might not be so fun, or so healthy, for the four-legged members of your household: yes, we’re talking about fireworks.
Fireworks are loud, and the crowds that go to see them can be scary, too. Animal shelters nationwide are flooded with runaway pets on the Fourth; studies show that nearly one in five lost pets went missing because they were fleeing the sound of fireworks or other loud noises. Losing a pet is not only heartbreaking, it’s also very dangerous for the animal, especially if he or she ends up roaming busy streets.
The best way to keep your pets safe is to make sure they don’t go missing in the first place: Please resist the urge to take your pets to go see fireworks. Instead, keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. Double check leashes and collars and make sure your pet’s ID tag is up to date. Be mindful when opening outside doors. And if the unthinkable does happen, the ASPCA’s new app is here to help: Utilizing the latest field research, this free tool provides users with an individual search plan based on their pet’s behavior and individual circumstances so they can search quickly and effectively to recover their lost pet.
As the unofficial start to summer, Memorial Day is a great excuse to get outdoors. But whether you’re partying, barbequing, or just soaking up some rays, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind at all times. To prevent any Memorial Day mishaps, we’ve put together five tips to help protect animals during the “Dog Days” of the season.
Barbequing is one of the best parts of Memorial Day, but remember that the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from animals, and remind guests not to give them any table scraps or snacks. Raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, and avocado are all common at barbeques—and they’re all especially toxic to animals.
Be Cool Near the Pool
Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lake—not all dogs are expert swimmers! Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Also, try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains potentially dangerous chemicals like chlorine.
Skip the Spray
Unless specifically designed for animals, insect repellant and sunscreen can be toxic to pets. Signs of repellent toxicity include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy. DEET, a common insecticide in products for humans, may cause neurological issues in dogs.
Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so if you’re spending time outside, give them plenty of fresh, clean water and make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. Note that animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
Time spent outdoors comes with the added risk of pets escaping. Make sure that your pet is fitted with a microchip or ID tag with identifying information, or both. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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Tomorrow (Saturday, May 17) is Armed Forces Day, which honors Americans serving in the five branches of our military: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. In addition to the brave men and women who defend our country and assist others around the globe, we’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to another kind of hero—the U.S. military working dog, or MWD.
According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. military has used working dogs since the Revolutionary War. The most extensive use of MWDs occurred during World War II, when more than 10,000 specially trained canines served as sentries, scouts, messengers and mine detectors. Dogs have also served alongside our soldiers in World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the War on Terror.
Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, has been the home of the U.S. Armed Forces’ Military Working Dog Program since 1958. It is also the site of the U.S. Working Dog Teams National Monument (pictured), which was formally dedicated and added to the inventory of national treasures on October 28, 2013.
We thank the Defense Department and the U.S. Air Force for recognizing that the loyalty and sacrifice of these animals must never be forgotten.
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers
ORANGE you excited?! Today is the ASPCA’s birthday! That’s right, the oldest humane organization in the Western Hemisphere is turning the big 1-4-8.
It all started when our founder, Henry Bergh, decided to speak up for animals in Civil War-era New York. After gathering signatures for his “Declaration of the Rights of Animals,” Bergh was given an official charter to incorporate the ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, the first effective anti-cruelty law in the United States was passed and, with a team of three, the ASPCA began working to enforce it. By the time Bergh died in 1888, 37 of the 38 states in the U.S. had passed anti-cruelty laws.
We have spent the past 148 years honoring Henry Bergh’s mission “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States,” and we hope you will join us in celebrating. Hug your pet, don some orange, and help us blow out these 148 candles!