If you have children, Halloween can be a fun-filled, exciting time. But throw animals into the mix, and it can be terrifying.
Our pets do not understand the concept of costumes and masks. To them, if it looks like a monster, acts like a monster, even if it smells like little Johnny from next door — it’s still a monster — and should be bitten.
When you add occult worshipers looking for stray animals to torment, you can see why this day can be a bad day all around for our pets.
As a former State Humane Officer in California, one of my duties was investigating possible animal sacrifice in the area where I worked. The period right before and during Halloween was, by far, the most active time for these offenses.
Halloween dangers for dogs
Friendly dogs (because they are easily caught) and black cats are the most victimized. Since they can be stolen from your yard, your safest bet is to keep all pets in the house unless closely supervised. Do this minimally from the week before Halloween through Halloween night.
Candy containing chocolate or raisins is extremely toxic to pets. Hard candies and popcorn balls can cause choking and obstructions.
Constantly ringing doorbells create an evening of high anxiety. Neighborhood monsters, not easily forgotten, can cause weeks of post-traumatic stress.
All in all, Halloween is not your pet’s favorite time of year.
Keep your dog safe
Sure, there are a few campy labs and golden retrievers out there who actually like the commotion and may even enjoy getting dressed up. But they are the exception, not the rule.
So do your pets a favor; create a safe place for them in your house.
A crate or a closed-off room is ideal.
Make sure the candy is inaccessible.
And don’t allow your dog to partake in greeting trick-or-treaters at the door unless you are absolutely positive that he knows the difference between kids in costumes and real threats to his family.
I like to hold my Pomeranian in my arms when the door is opened. “Do you like his costume?” I ask the littlest trick-or-treaters. “He isn’t wearing a costume!” The little ones say. “Oh, yes, he is,” I reply very seriously. “He’s actually a cat!”
Terry Jester is a nationally recognized expert on companion animal behavior. She is regarded by The Humane Society of the United States as being “Humane and effective in dealing with problem pets and their owners.” Connect with Terry on her website.