Halloween Pet Safety: Putting Your Best Paw Forward

October 19, 2017

For some of our furry friends, Halloween is right up there with 4th of July fireworks in terms of its ability to inflict sheer terror. Not only is the doorbell constantly ringing (which is fully capable of setting off even the most well-behaved dog or cat), but there are also shrill, tiny voices screaming “TRICK OR TREAT!” at the top of their lungs while dressed in spooky costumes. Needless to say, it can be stress-inducing for pets and small humans alike. So, what’s a Halloween-loving pet owner to do?

You know your pet best. If your dog goes bananas at hearing a knock at the door on a normal day, well…you know she’s going to react ten times worse Halloween night, especially if you live in a neighborhood crawling with trick-or-treaters. One solution for Fifi would be to board her Halloween night—but that’s not always a feasible or financially-reasonable solution. So, how about setting up your spooky shop outside instead? Put out some chairs, set up a table with your candy pile, and you’ll be well on your way to avoiding the door knocking altogether. Of course, if outside temps don’t end up cooperating (or sitting outside without easy access to Netflix doesn’t exactly appeal to you), you might be better off crating Fifi, or banishing her to a designated room tucked away from all the action going down at the front door action. One other thing to consider: even if Fifi IS the friendliest, most laid-back beast in the world, the child at your door might not be comfortable around dogs. Therefore, the best course of action on Halloween night is to come up with a proactive solution that’ll help you avoid any potential issues before they even arise.

Oh hey, and let’s not forget about your kitties, either. With the door constantly opening, Fluffy has got ample opportunity to make a run for it, and begin laying her plan to take over the world. Save Fluffy (and the world), and make sure she’s secure as well.

OK, we think we’ve got Halloween door action pretty much covered. But, here are some other dangers lurking that you should probably be aware of…

  1. Treats: If you’ve got a big bowl of candy just sitting by the front door, Fifi might seize the opportunity to help herself to the entire thing. Make sure the treats are out of reach for Fifi and your other pets.
  2. Costumes: Let’s be honest—who DOESN’T love a dog or a cat in costume? C’mon, it’s adorable! But sometimes our love of all things adorable can make us forget that dogs and cats don’t typically belong in costume. Now, maybe Fifi or Fluffy is cool with it, but for other pets, being forced to dress up can cause a lot of stress. If you absolutely must dress up your wiener dog like a hot dog, make sure you do a few dress rehearsals before the big night. If he or she shows any signs of stress at all, it’s best to forego the costume (or keep it simple with a bandana or festive collar).
  3. Escaping: As we already covered above, some pets will be more than happy to incorporate the constant opening of the front door into their escape plan. That’s why it’s important to make certain your pet has an ID tag on his or her collar, and better yet, an up-to-date microchip. If you don’t already have a microchip, your vet can administer one relatively easily. Nowadays there are even GPS collars available, though they can be relatively pricey.

Ultimately, the best rule of thumb when it comes to pets and Halloween safety is to practice empathy: put yourself in your furry friend’s shoes (er, paws)—if you don’t think you would like it, he or she probably won’t either.