LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Los Angeles Animal Services officials are offering residents tips on how to keep their pets safe during Halloween celebrations.
"For some pets ... this night can be a nightmare because the sweet treats and some of the Halloween decor can be dangerous and even fatal to our animal companions, and even normally mellow pets can get spooked by the strange sounds, frightful sights, and people in masks or dressed up in costume,'' the department said Saturday.
Officials offered the following guidelines:
-- No sweets for your animals. Chocolate and other Halloween candies can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Ensure sweet treats are out of the pet's reach and throw wrappers away in the trash. This may be a good teaching opportunity for children who may not understand why pets can't share their treats.
-- Costumes are optional because not all pets enjoy dressing up. A decorative collar is far more comfortable than a costume for your pet. Make sure your pet thinks a costume is as much fun as you do before you dress them up. If you do put your pet in a costume, try it on to make sure they are comfortable, and ensure it will not get wrapped around their neck causing choking or get tangled around their legs.
-- Ensure your pet is licensed and microchipped with current identification. If your pet becomes lost, ensuring they have a collar with a current Los Angeles city license and/or ID tag on them and a microchip that's registered with your most up-to-date contact information, will help reunite you with your companion animal.
-- Be careful around Jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween decor. Tail wagging is a good thing -- unless it's done around a lit candle. Keep candles and candle-lit carved pumpkins at an appropriate height where your pets can't knock them over or get burned or start a fire. Electric cords from decorative lights can entice your pet to play with or chew them, potentially leading to strangulation, burns or death. Keep all cords, strings and Halloween decorations out of your pet's reach.
-- Keep glow sticks out of reach. Glow sticks can help keep children safe, but should be kept out away from your pets. The liquid inside glow sticks are non-toxic, but it can agitate your pet and in some cases, cause your pet to get sick.
-- Keep pets indoors and create a calming environment. Pets can become frightened by loud sounds, causing them to panic and escape their homes. Help reduce your pet's anxiety by creating a calm and quiet environment for your pet.
-- For more information about LA Animal Services, visit laanimalservices.com.
On Friday, LAAS announced that the city's shelters are nearing capacity, and urged Angelenos to foster or adopt some of the animals.
"We've leaned on our community in times of need and have never been let down,'' said Dana Brown, LAAS general manager. "We hope we can rely on their support again as we ask them to adopt or foster a pet looking for their new home.''