October 18, 2012
Spare Your Pet the Spooks This Halloween
Follow our tips for keeping your critters happy, not horrified
No matter how grown up you are, you can’t miss that whiff of mischief in the air: It’s Halloween time again.
But this haunting holiday may be more scary than amusing for your pets. While silly costumes and games are fun for people, companion animals aren’t used to constant doorbell-ringing, and the general hustle-and-bustle in our homes this time of year.
KC Theisen, director of pet care issues for The Humane Society of the United States, warns that the things that make Halloween a treat for people—"Halloween noises, smells, and people in costumes"—can overwhelm many pets.
Her solution to the problem is pretty simple: “While you’re enjoying the festivities, make sure your pets have a safe haven in one room of your house where they can feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed.”
Follow our humane Halloween tips
- When going out trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion and a bite or lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun.
- Keep your cats safely indoors. Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween it’s especially important to keep your cats—and all other pets—in the house.
- Separate your pets from Halloween activities and trick-or-treaters, even in your house. Remember that masks and costumes change how people look and smell to a pet, so even familiar people may become frightening.
- Make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current IDs (and consider microchipping them). Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of escape opportunities.
- Keep candy out of your pets’ reach. Chocolate and other ingredients can be toxic to them.
- Be careful when considering a costume for your pet. Most pets are happiest wearing nothing but their birthday suits, but if you do choose a costume for your pets, forgo masks and make sure costumes are comfortable and don't pose a risk for injury.
- Decorations can be dangerous, so keep them safely away from pets. Candle flames can set fire to their fur. Hanging or dangling decorations can be an entanglement or choking hazard.
- Use fake cobwebs sparingly, if at all. Pets can choke on fake cobwebs set up indoors. Outdoors, fake webs may be a hazard to birds and wildlife.
Give your pets a quiet haven where they can feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed.
Save your wild interactions for parties
Not all the wild creatures outside will be wearing costumes. You may see nocturnal animals such as raccoons, opossums, and foxes foraging for food while you’re trick-or-treating or walking from your car to a party.
If you come across a wild animal, just keep your distance (and keep your dog safely beside you, too), continue on your way, and consider yourself lucky to have experienced a bit of the truly wild world on All Hallows’ Eve.