The door will be constantly opening and closing during the night so it’s best to keep all but the most docile pets in a separate room. Dogs may become overwhelmed, anxious and even aggressive due to the activity – not to mention the hordes of people in strange costumes – and cats may dart outside while the trick-or-treaters are coming to call.
- Decorations such as lit pumpkins or candles, sticky cobwebs, fake blood and rubber eyeballs can be choking and fire hazards around curious pets (and long tails and fur!) Keep a close eye on pets to avoid accidents.
- Although it may be cute to dress the family dog up only let your pet don a costume if they enjoy it – some really do! Keep an eye on their demeanor and if they seem stressed or lethargic don’t put them through the added stress. Do not choose anything with loose threads, buttons or chewables and keep away from anything that covers their nose, eyes and ears. Bandanas are often the best bet, even for finicky pets. Be especially careful with cats, as the jumping, twisting and turning they do when upset creates extra choking and suffocation situations.
- Only bring the calmest dogs out trick-or-treating with the kids as the commotion and costumes may startle them, even if they’re meeting people they already know; they may not recognize the neighbours in costume. Always add reflective tape to a dog out on Halloween, as it tends to be a gloomy, often wet night with plenty of traffic.
- Keep cats inside in the days leading up to Halloween. Pranks and other cruelties do happen this time of year to cats and dogs, but black cats do get targeted more; many shelters refrain from adopting them out at this time of year.