Many youngsters dabble in devilish behavior this time of year, and animals are often the targets of their pranks. But a treat for the kids can be a cruel trick for a dog or cat. Here are some tips to help keep your animals safe on this haunting holiday:
- Most importantly, keep cats inside. For cats—especially black cats, who have been unfairly associated with “evil forces”—the days leading up to Halloween can be dark indeed as pranksters often go on the prowl for roaming cats. In fact, many animal shelters refuse to adopt out black cats during the entire month of October. (As a worker at a Detroit animal shelter put it, “Nobody gets a black cat during the month of October if they ask for one, no matter how nice they are.”)
- Dogs should be kept indoors too. Some kids think that letting dogs out of their yards on Halloween is a great trick, but it’s a terrifying experience for dogs, who often run from the noise and the strangely dressed people and can become lost. Dogs can also be injured if kids poke at them through fences or pelt them with eggs.
- Put animals in a secure room during trick-or-treat time. Cats can quickly slip out the front door, and dogs sometimes try to bite unsuspecting kids, thinking that they’re intruders. For everyone’s safety, it’s best to keep animals inside a bedroom or family room, away from all the commotion.
- Don’t take dogs on trick-or-treating trips. Trick-or-treaters are usually more interested in collecting candy than they are in monitoring the dogs. Dogs can easily become frightened by the endless stream of laughing and screaming children and run off or even bite someone.
- Keep candy out of reach of animals, and make sure that kids know not to share their goodies with four-legged friends. All candy (and wrappers!) can cause animals to become sick, and chocolate—which contains an ingredient that is poisonous to dogs—can kill. A simple cat or dog treat will make animals’ Halloween great without making them sick.
- Keep curious noses and paws away from candles and party favors. Jack-o’-lanterns lit up by candles are appropriately scary, but they can burn animals (and children) or start fires if tipped over. The ink that is used in some brightly colored decorations, such as orange streamers and paper pumpkins, is toxic to animals, and swallowed balloons or party favors can block an animal’s digestive tract.
- Remember that animals aren’t party props. Fido might look cute wearing a witch’s hat, but many animals become upset if they are forced into clothing. Costumes that are kept in place with tight rubber bands can cut off circulation. And while some party planners think that it’s frightful fun to have a black cat jump out of a closet at guests, the frightened feline (and guests) probably won’t agree.
By taking a few simple precautions, everyone—humans and animals alike—can have a safe and happy Halloween.
Don’t be a monster this Halloween ….
- Pass out vegan candy. Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls never hurt anyone, but people who buy candy that is made from gelatin, milk, or other animal products are unwittingly contributing to animal suffering. Click here for a list of frightfully good vegan candy.
- Give away PETA stickers. Would you prefer to pass out information instead of tooth decay? Visit PETALiterature.com to order stickers.
- Go cruelty-free! What you put on your face is as important as what you put in your mouth if you don’t want to terrorize animals this Halloween. Not only is theatrical make-up that is tested on animals cruel, it is also guaranteed to horrify compassionate partygoers. Check out some cruelty-free make-up instead.