Halloween can be a festive and fun time of year for children and families, but for family pets, it can be a stressful and even dangerous time of year. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers pet owners some common-sense tips to help keep pets safe:
- All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours—too many strangers in unusual garb can be scary and stressful for pets.
- When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that Fifi or Fido doesn't dart outside. Make sure they're wearing current identification, just in case.
- No tricks or treats: Keep all Halloween candy out of your pet's reach. Chocolate can be poisonous to animals, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.
- It's not a bright idea to keep lit pumpkins around companion animals. Pets can knock them over, and curious kittens especially run the risk of being burned.
- Don't leave your pet in the yard on Halloween. There have been stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, and even killed pets on this night.
- Keep your feline inside for several days before and after Halloween. Black cats in particular may be at risk from children's pranks or other cruelty-related incidents. As a safety precaution, many shelters will not adopt out black cats around Halloween.
- Don't dress up your dog or cat unless you know it likes to be dressed up. If you decide to do so, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe and doesn't restrict movement, vision, hearing, or ability to breathe or bark. Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that could be chewed off and possibly choked on.
© 2003 The ASPCA