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Pinellas County looking out for its pets this Halloween

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Halloween’s a blast. We all know that. It used to just be for kids, but now everyone grabs some jollies this time of year. Who doesn’t love to dress up and pretend like they’e someone they’re not, but, deep down, wish they always were? Better yet, who, with pets, doesn’t love to dress those little furry suckers up for Halloween and snap a few shots for the Book, or the Gram?

Also, and at the risk of sounding like a major Buzz Killington, Pinellas County Animal Services wants you to remember your pets this time of year.

Check out these guide lines the county is recommending this All Hallows’ Eve — if you dare:

  • All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
  • When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that pets don’t dart outside.
  • Chocolate in all forms is very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst and even seizures.
  • Candies containing the alternative sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression in dogs, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.
  • Ingesting tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
  • Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations can be dangerous. If chewed, pets could experience damage to their mouths from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
  • A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution when adding a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.
  • Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are swallowed.
  • Dress up can be a big mess up for some pets. Consider a pet’s personal preferences. If a pet is dressed up, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing or impede its ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, try on costumes before the big night. If a pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, opt out of dress up.
  • Dogs and cats should always have proper identification. If for any reason a pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can increase the chances that a pet will be returned.

Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Normal hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and services include adoptions. Rabies vaccinations are administered on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. The facility is closed all Pinellas County holidays.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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