The same things that make Halloween a treat for you can be scary for your pets. Noises, smells, a ringing doorbell, strangers in costumes that make them look different are all unsettling for your pet.
1.Make a room in your house a haven for your pets where they can feel safe, comfortable and relaxed.
2. If you’re going out trick or treating, leave your dog at home. He/she can easily get stressed by all the activity and noise and bite or get lost.
3. Keep treats out of the reach of pets, preferably in a locked, child-safe cabinet so your children can’t feed candy to pets. Chocolate and other sweeteners or preservatives are toxic to animals and can be fatal.
4. Just in case, keep this number handy: 888-426-4435. It’s the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline. (The hotline charges a fee of $65 per case.) If you think your pet has eaten something that's bad for them, call your vet or the Poison Control Center immediately.
5. Be careful of decorations that may pose a danger to your pets, such as rubber eyeballs (choking risk), glow sticks and fake blood (possible poisons), fake cobwebs (can choke or entangle pets and wildlife), potpourri (toxic to birds) and strung lights.
6. Choose pet costumes wisely. Don’t use masks, anything that covers eyes or ears, and anything that might tangle in your pet's legs. Make sure the costume is comfortable and lets your pet move freely. Remove any chewable parts or objects that could come off and choke your pet. If your pet looks uncomfortable, take off the costume. Signs of discomfort include folded down ears, eyes rolling back or looking sideways, a tucked tail and hunching over.
7. Bring your pets indoors before it gets dark. Cats are always safest inside with you, but on Halloween it’s especially important to secure all pets inside. Many times those looking to use cats for “fun” will roam the streets looking for friendly house cats that have been let outside.
8. In case they escape, make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current IDs (consider microchipping them). Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of opportunities for a pet to sneak outside and disappear. Proper ID will help you find your lost pet.
9. For black cat owners: be especially careful to keep any black cat indoors, not just on Halloween, but at this time of year. It’s heartbreaking, but ritual abuse of black cats escalates in October, so most shelters and humane societies, including Denver’s Cat Care Society http://www.catcaresociety.org, will not adopt out black cats to anyone.
10. Remember that pets process stimuli a lot differently than humans and do all you can to reduce their stress levels during this time of year.
Follow these tips and you’ll make Halloween happier and healthier for your pets!