While Halloween can be a frighteningly good time for children and adults alike, it can also be petrifying for your pooch or terrifying for your tabby. The Humane Society of the United States is reminding pet owners that this haunting holiday may be too scary for your pet. Companion animals aren't used to the doorbell-ringing, costumed creatures and general hustle-and-bustle that come into our homes at this time of year.
"For your pet's comfort and safety, the best thing that you can do is to make sure that they have a stress-free holiday," according to Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk program 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 home where he or she can quietly relax."
To help keep pets safe and happy this Halloween, The HSUS recommends the following tips:
Keep your pets safely indoors, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities.
Make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current ID. 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.
Most pets are happiest wearing nothing but their birthday suit. Costumes and masks can make your pets uncomfortable or even cause injury.
Decorations can be dangerous, so be sure to keep them safely away from pets. 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. Pets 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 looking 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 pets away from wild animals, too).
Though bats are classically associated with Halloween, those in colder climates will most likely be hibernating at this time of year. Most bats won't be interested in sucking your blood, but they'll happily munch away on the insects that may be pestering you while out trick-or-treating.
Paying heed to the tips above, we can all work together to keep our beloved pets and our wild neighbors safe this Halloween.
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