While Halloween is a lively time for children and adults alike, The Humane Society of the United States is reminding human guardians that this haunting holiday may be more scary than amusing for your pet. While silly costumes and games are fun for people, companion animals aren’t used to spooky surprises, constant doorbell-ringing, and the general hustle-and-bustle that come into our homes at this time of year.
“The best thing you can do for your pet during any holiday is to make it as stress-free as possible,” according to Adam Goldfarb, director of pet care issues for The Humane Society of the United States. “The noises, smells and people can be overwhelming for many pets on Halloween, so create a safe haven in one room of your house where your pet can feel safe, comfortable and relaxed.” (To hear a 30-second audio news release available for media download featuring Goldfarb on Halloween pet safety, please click here.)
To help keep them safe and happy this Halloween, The HSUS recommends the following tips:
- Keep animals safely indoors, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities.
- Make sure that they are wearing tags with current ID. Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of escape opportunities.
- Keep candy out of reach. While many know that chocolate can be bad for their animals, xylitol – a sweetener used in candy and gum – can be toxic to them too.
- Most animals are happiest wearing nothing but their birthday suit, but if you do choose a costume for your companion animal, forgo masks and make sure costumes are comfortable and do not pose a risk for injury.
- Decorations can be dangerous, so be sure to keep them safely away from them. Candle flames can set fire to a pet’s fur. Hanging or dangling decorations can be an entanglement or choking hazard to some animals.
- Use fake cobwebs sparingly, if at all. Animals can choke on fake cobwebs set up indoors. Outdoors, fake webs may be a hazard to birds and wildlife.
- When going out trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion and a dog bite or lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun.
Don’t forget about wildlife on Halloween, either. Nocturnal animals, such as raccoons, opossums and foxes will be out foraging for food. If you come across a wild animal while out trick-or-treating, your best bet is to keep your distance (and keep your companion animals away from wild animals, too). And though bats are classically associated with Halloween, all but some of the more hardy species will have migrated to their hibernating spaces by this time of year.
Keeping these tips in mind can help ensure that our beloved furfriends and our wild neighbors are safe this Halloween.