Candy, costumes, scary movies, parties—what’s NOT to love about Halloween?
Unfortunately, animals often don’t enjoy Halloween as much as we do. Noisy, costumed trick-or-treaters can be frightening, and mischief makers sometimes target animals who are left outdoors alone.
Here are some tips for keeping your four-legged friends safe on the spookiest day of the year:
Keep Cats Indoors
As crazy as it seems, some people are still afraid of black cats because of old superstitions. (Black cats are even less likely to be adopted from animal shelters than those who aren’t black!) Cats left outdoors can become targets for Halloween hoodlums, who may hurt or steal them. All cats, black or otherwise, should always be kept indoors unless they’re leashed or safely contained and supervised—it’s just a lot safer.
Keep Dogs Indoors
With all the noise and commotion, terrified canines might escape your yard and run in a blind panic, getting lost or hit by a car. Imagine how horrible it would be to look out into your yard and see the gate open and your pup gone! Keep your canine companions indoors unless you’re outdoors, too, to supervise them.
Keep Animals Away From Trick-or-Treaters—and From Open Doors
When you open the door to trick-or-treaters, cats can easily slip through unnoticed. It’s far safer to keep them away from all the commotion. The same can be said for dogs, who could escape or knock over a child. Some dogs may even bite children, thinking they’re intruders. To avoid this type of trouble, you could put a basket of candy on your front porch with a sign reading, “Help yourselves, kids!” Or, if your animals are easily stressed out by the sounds of noisy kids, consider just turning your porch light off and forgoing the tradition altogether.
Halloween Stress Busters for Sensitive Dogs and Cats
If your companion animal finds Halloween stressful, you can apply some of the same stress-relieving techniques that people use on the Fourth of July, such as a ThunderShirt, soothing music, or calming nutritional supplements.
Don’t Take Dogs Trick-or-Treating
Trick-or-treaters are focused on running from house to house in pursuit of candy, not watching out for animals. Some dogs might get scared and break loose or even end up biting someone. For everyone‘s safety, just leave pups at home.
Keep Candy Away From Animals
Candy and even the wrappers it comes in can make animals sick. Chocolate can even be deadly to dogs. Keep candy in a secure place where animals can’t get to it, and keep an eye on young kids to make sure they don’t share their Halloween haul with their animal companions.
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If you think your dog or cat may have eaten candy or something else that could be dangerous, contact the Pet Poison Helpline right away at 1-800-213-6680.
Be Careful With Halloween Decorations and Supplies
Jack-o’-lanterns and candles can be dangerous to animals, and fake goo (which could be poisonous) can be tempting to a curious cat or dog, so keep these items well out of reach.
Remember That Animals Aren’t Props
No matter how adorable you think they look dressed up, dogs and cats aren’t here for our amusement and don’t want to wear costumes, which are often held on with tight rubber bands or straps that can cut off circulation and pull fur. They can’t easily tell us when they’re stressed or uncomfortable, so show them some consideration and let them go au naturel.
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You and your animals deserve to have the best Halloween EVER! We know you won’t enjoy the big day if your animals aren’t happy, so follow these tips and make sure the worst thing you wake up to on November 1 is a sugar hangover.
Speaking of sugar, wondering what to hand out on Halloween night? Check out our list of delicious vegan candies!