Elaborate costumes, festive decorations and delicious, sugary treats — Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the United States for a good reason. However, while we humans are having a blast, our furry friends may not be having a great time. Following just a few Halloween pet safety tips can ensure your pet is safe and comfortable.
1. Keep Your Pets Inside On Halloween
When night falls and trick-or-treaters start wandering the streets, ensure your pet is safely indoors. Even if your dog spends most of his time in the backyard or you have an outside cat, they’ll be safest inside.
2. Put Your Pet in a Quiet, Secure Room
Some pets are extremely sociable and comfortable with the sounds of constant door knocking or doorbell ringing. Unfortunately, most aren’t. Unless your pet is completely comfortable in this scenario, keep her in a separate room.
- Even if your pet is in a separate room, the sounds of Halloween can still cause anxiety.
- Block out the sounds that a parade of strangers at your front door will cause.
- Turn up the stereo or television — or even better, play soothing white noise.
- If your dog loves her carrier, consider keeping her in the crate for the night with some favorite treats and toys.
- If you’re having a party, you should have a quiet place for your pet.
- Even if your pet is familiar with your guests, costumes and masks can confuse and stress the animal.
- Even if you feel your pet is comfortable enough to participate in the Halloween action, stay vigilant. One small stress trigger could cause a reaction, with the animal darting out the door.
3. Tags and Microchips Avert Disaster
Make sure your pet wears his tags and the microchip is up to date. Even if you do everything right, it can be easy for a pet to slip out the door during trick-or-treating. If this happens and he’s not microchipped or has tags on, it will be extremely difficult to track him down.
4. Make Sure Your Pet Loves His Costume
It’s so cute to see our beloved pets dressed up as a little Dracula or petite ballerina. You should proceed with caution despite the temptation to go overboard with a pet Halloween costume.
- If you want to dress your pet up for Halloween, make sure she loves it.
- An uncomfortable costume that obstructs her sight by covering her face or constricts her movement can add to anxiety.
- If you put on a costume and your pet isn’t a fan, just leave it on long enough to take a few cute photos and then let her go back to her “birthday suit.”
- Simple accessories like a bandana won’t stress your pet out while still being festive.
- Even if your pet loves her costume, never let her out of your sight because choking or strangulation may occur. Make sure there are no small or dangly accessories that could be chewed off and choked on.
5. Keep the Treats to Yourself
Treats and candy are a major component of Halloween in the United States. Humans love to indulge themselves in sugary confections during the Halloween season; unfortunately, so do animals. While too much sugar isn’t great for humans, it can be dangerous for pets.
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- Make sure the candy is well out of reach.
- Chocolate is, of course, poisonous to dogs. But that’s not all: foil or plastic candy wrappers can harm pets’ digestive systems.
- Raisins are also dangerous for dogs to eat and can lead to kidney failure.
- You probably won’t go out of your way to feed your pet some candy, but small children may forget the dangers of giving pets candy and in their exuberance, try to share.
- Make sure you have the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline handy — we’ll take care of this step for you. The number is (888) 426-4435.
- If your carved pumpkin is rotting, don’t let a hungry dog take a bite of it because there may be bacteria that can lead to upset stomachs. Sure, a moldy pumpkin isn’t a treat to you, but in your dog’s eyes, it’s as yummy as pecan pie.
6. Dangerous Decorations
While our first four Halloween pet safety tips are fairly obvious, this one is slightly more surprising. Keep pets away from lit candles and jack-o-lanterns.
- Young, curious animals — particularly kittens — will be interested in the flickering, carved pumpkins. If she knocks it over, she risks being burnt by the candle or hot wax.
- In a worst-case scenario, she could topple a candle or jack-o-lantern and cause a fire in your home.
- It’s not just open flames you need to be cautious with. If you have electronic decorations, keep wires out of reach because pets can be electrocuted if they chew on the cables.
7. Hand Out Candy in the Front Yard
You’ve set your dog up in his crate with some favorite toys and treats, but he’s still struggling with anxiety. If even being in another room with some white noise isn’t enough to keep your pet calm, consider posting up outside your front door.
When you hand out candy from outside the house, you’ll minimize sounds that can cause anxiety in animals. There will be a lot less door opening, knocking and doorbell ringing. While kids will still shout “Trick or Treat,” with the door closed your pet may not even hear them.
8. Leave Trick or Treating to the Humans
We’ll admit this is a hard Halloween pet safety tip to follow. Your dog looks adorable in his Frankenstein costume and enjoys social situations. What’s the harm in bringing her along when you go trick or treating?
Unfortunately, even well-behaved and social dogs can get overwhelmed by the number of people and strange costumes — all compounded by the darkness of night. Your night will go from fun to frightening if he bites someone or runs away due to stress.
If you want to take your dog out while you trick or treat, consider limiting the time you bring him along and stick to the hours when the sun is still up. Once the sun goes down, head back home.
A Note About Black Cats
Remember the old wisdom that black cats aren’t safe being outdoors during the Halloween season? That shelters should avoid adopting out black cats in the fall because satanic cults or bored teenagers would kidnap, torture or even kill them? It’s all a myth.
It’s hard to say precisely where the fallacy of evil or unlucky black cats originated. Ancient Greek and Egyptian societies considered them to be mythical creatures, while in medieval times the association with witchcraft became prevalent.
But despite their association with mysticism, bad luck and evil, black cats are in no more danger during Halloween than any other feline. In fact, experts suggest that shelters take advantage of the spooky season to adopt out more black cats.
Halloween isn’t the only holiday that causes pet anxiety. Read our guide to Fourth of July pet safety tips.
Use CitizenShipper for Pet Transport During the Holidays
If you’re traveling during Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas and want to bring your pet along, consider pet transportation through CitizenShipper. The independent transporters that use our marketplace are compassionate animal lovers and take the time to ensure you and your pet are comfortable throughout the trip.
It’s free to post a listing on CitizenShipper and you’ll get quotes within minutes. Once you have quotes, you can chat directly with the transporter and discuss every detail. Post a listing for pet transportation on CitizenShipper today!
Content Writer at CitizenShipper. I’ve also been published on The Penny Hoarder, Mommy Poppins and mxdwn.