Keep Your Pets Safe on Halloween

Tips from PETA about Protecting Your Pets

PETA offers some excellent tips about keeping pets safe on Halloween.

Although Halloween is a fun holiday for most people, many youngsters and adults may engage in abusive behavior towards pets and other animals. Some people may think a cool trick is to harm a dog or cat. Our little critters need help to keep them safe. Here are some Halloween tips to keep our furry family safe.

Pet bulldog in construction outfit for Halloween

Keep cats—especially black cats—indoors Poor little black cats and kittens are unfairly associated with “evil forces” as familiars to witches back in the Middle Ages. During the days leading up to Halloween, cruel pranksters prowl for roaming kitties to harm and sometimes sacrifice. Many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the entire month of October. One Detroit animal shelter employee confirmed that Nobody gets a black cat during the month of October if they ask for one, no matter how nice they are.

Keep dogs indoors. If you let dogs out of your yard, some kids may find a way to play a painful trick on your poor pet. Halloween can terrify dogs, who often run from the noise and strangely dressed people. Your dog may become so afraid by all the commotion that s/he can get lost, harmed, or stolen. Dogs may also get injured if kids poke at them through fences or pelt them with eggs.

Keep your pets in a secure room. Even the pudgiest cats can quickly slip by unseen and out the front door when you give treats to the kids. Dogs may bite unsuspecting people because they want to protect their family from what the believe are intruders. Keep pets inside in a safe, secure area, away from all the festivities and commotion.

Don’t take dogs trick-or-treating. Kids are more interested in collecting candy than monitoring dogs and making sure the pet is safe. Dogs are often frightened by the endless stream of laughing and screaming children. They may and run off or even bite someone.

Keep candy away from pets. Chocolate is delicious to us, but causes “chocolate poisoning.” Chocolate poisoning can easily causes pets to die. Animals metabolize theobromine—a chemical in tea, cola beverages, and chocolate—much more slowly than humans. Pets can easily consume enough chocolate to cause death. The toxic dose for cats is even lower than for dogs.

Veterinarian Dr. Patty Kuhly warns,

Candies are troublesome for dogs and cats not just because sugars and fats can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset or even pancreatitis, but because the wrappers are commonly implicated in GI obstructions. Foil wrappers are the worst. I once extracted a bunched up wad of Twix bar wrappers from the intestines of a teensy dog. (Even five mini-Twix wrappers will do more damage than all its chocolate can deliver)… xylitol, a natural sugar substitute that’s increasingly prevalent in candies… can kill your dog.

Make sure the kids don’t share any goodies with four-legged family members. All candy and wrappers can cause animals to become sick. If you want your pet to celebrate Halloween with you, give them a treat or two specially made for animals.

Watch out for curious noses and paws Make sure pets stay away from candles, party favors, and Jack-o-lanterns lit by candles. These are appropriately spooky props for the holiday, but can burn animals and children or start fires if tipped over. Ink in some brightly colored decorations, such as orange streamers and paper pumpkins, is toxic to pets. Swallowed balloons or party favors can block an animal’s digestive tract.

Raisins. Dr. Kuhly warns that dogs have a unique sensitivity to raisins and grapes, both of which can lead to rapid kidney failure. Healthy households often prefer to distribute small boxes of raisins during Halloween: make sure these treats are well out of paws’ way.

Keep glow-in-the-dark sticks and jewelry far away from pets. Dogs may think these glowing items are a great chew toy. However, they contain phenol which, if it leaks can burn your tongue. Dr Kuhly wrote I’ve never tried it but I once had to treat a very uncomfortable cat who did. Luckily, the plastic container hadn’t been swallowed. I’ve heard of that happening, too.

Pets are not party props. Yes, this cat and dog both look adorable wearing these costumes: but is their holiday attire safe? Many pets become upset when forced into clothing. Costumes held in place with tight rubber bands can cut off circulation. Dr. Kuhly, writes:

Seams, studs, zippers and other notions can cut, pinch and even rip delicate skin. I once even had to unglue a dog from her costume. Years later, she probably still has glitter glue scarred into her skin. [In hot climates] heat stroke is also a strong possibility for dogs and cats wearing heavy costumes and undertaking extra exercise during special Halloween events.

A party planner who thinks it’s frightful fun to have a black cat (or dog) jump out of a closet at guests, the frightened pets—and probably your guests—won’t agree. If you’re tempted to try this “trick,” remember you are opening yourself up to the possibility of getting sued for serious dog or cat bites.

Don’t be a monster to your pet this Halloween. A few simple precautions means everyone—humans and pets—can have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween.


Mad Mike’s America thanks Dr. Patty Kuhly and PETA.


We welcome any additional suggestions you have to keep our family pets safe this year.

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Posted by on October 28, 2011. Filed under Animals,Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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One Response to Keep Your Pets Safe on Halloween

  1. Wendy Addams

    October 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Very good advice (unfortunately, there really are some cruel sickoes out there that “act out” on Halloween)–and adorable pics!