Halloween pet safety is needed every year. We want our pets to stay safe from goblins and other dangers. Learn how to get pets to accept costumes in this post.
Halloween at its best is a night of mystery, fun, and thrills for human children and many adults. It’s important to keep your human kiddoes safe with these tips, but no less important for the pets. I write about Halloween pets safety every year because it can be a nightmare for your furry kids.
Why Pets Hate Halloween
The calmest, most laid-back pet may get his tail in a twist when masked villains with flapping capes ring the front doorbell. Cats and dogs identify friends and family not only by scent, but also by appearance. Remember how King barks and growls and doesn’t recognize Uncle Jerry when he wears that baseball cap? Just imagine how King will react to a rubber mask that covers the neighbor child’s face!
Stranger danger can turn confident pets into nervous wrecks. If you know trick or treaters will visit, prepare your pets and put safety first–for you AND the kids. After all, you don’t want frightened pets to lash out at well-meaning kids.
Halloween Pets Safety
Dogs faced with unfamiliar people, especially if they wear “scary” outfits and carry objects that look dangerous (like a noisy bag, a flashlight, or “pumpkin” goody bucket), may react with fear. A fear reaction reduces some poor dogs to hiding under the bed. Other dogs attack the frightening intruder.
Cats more typically become scared and hide from anything that’s new and different. Hiding under the bed is bad enough, but it can turn dangerous if the cat or dog runs out the door and is lost, hit by a car, or injured by other animals.
How to Protect Halloween Pets & Kids
Save your sanity and give your pets peace of mind by confining them in a safe room on Halloween night. That way, they aren’t tempted to bark at each doorbell ring, or dash outside. You don’t want them scared—or to scare others—on this night and spoil the fun for everyone.
If your children plan to visit homes where you know pets reside, call ahead. Ask neighbors about confining their pets for all the reasons mentioned here. If you aren’t sure of the pet status at a particular house, why not skip that visit to be safe. Just as you don’t want your child frightened or injured, neither do you want to be responsible for a beloved pet becoming lost.
Keep Pets Safe Inside
I strongly urge that ALL cats and dogs be confined indoors on Halloween night, even if you don’t expect trick-or-treaters. For outdoor cats and dogs, shutting them up in the garage for a few nights before the holiday could save their lives.
It’s not a bad idea to confine cats—especially solid black and solid white kitties—for up to a week leading up to the holiday. There are some truly sick “demons” that do mean, nasty things to pets at this time of the year.
Tips from a Toronto Dog Expert
My Facebook friend Victoria Vidal-Ribas offered these additional tips she uses with her dogs (aka the Army of Darkness), and I loved ’em so much, she gave me permission to add them here.
Hi Amy, a few thoughts from North of 49. Unfortunately, because of the plague, Toronto has recommended no trick or treating but in previous years we have used the following tools at Army HQ successfully.
The first and most important thing is that once trick or treating starts I do not close the front door (it has a barrier). This prevents knocking and attendant barking. Within a very few minutes, the dogs figure out that littles will be visiting and they don’t feel the need to defend the house because there is no knocking and no barrier frustration.
I have a tall baby gate outside across my front door. This is because in previous years I have lived with hardcore bolters. The dogs are used to receiving visitors like delivery guys, workers, etc., and visiting through the gate. I now have a gate up permanently because it gives such security.
The gate keeps littles and puppies safely distant from another.
Because some of my dogs are ridiculously fond of humans they can hand out kisses through the gate bars if kisses are wanted or to receive pats. The dogs who are less fond of humans simply repair to the living room for the duration. No one is forced to participate.
Now my dogs are accustomed to doing meet and greets at shows etc., through expen bars so this is not a new behaviour for them.
Beware Halloween Pets & Candy
Remember that the days before and after Halloween offer indoor temptations that also pose dangers, especially for sweet-toothed dogs. Keep candy out of reach, in latched cupboards, to keep your canine glutton from over-indulging. One year my shepherd managed to climb onto the kitchen table, and empty a bowl filled with suckers—only the paper and gnawed sticks remained, scattered all over the carpet. While eating any sort of candy in excess may cause vomiting and/or diarrhea, and can wreak havoc on pet teeth, chocolate is particularly dangerous. Too much chocolate causes toxicity that may kill your pet. Prevention is best, but first-aid can help stricken pets feel better.
Avoid these dangers by planning ahead. Let your pets do “tricks” for their “treats” the rest of the year—give them Halloween night off in a safe room of their own.
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!
Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!