Tips to Keep Halloween Safe and Fun for Pets

By Janice Biniok

As the witching hour draws near for ghouls and ghosts to come knocking on your door, it’s important to remember that Halloween can be a stressful, dangerous time for pets. But while safety is a concern, it doesn’t mean your pet can’t enjoy being part of the festivities!

Sure, you need to keep human treats (especially chocolate) out of your pet’s reach, but your cat probably wouldn’t mind doing a few tricks for her own treats! Keep some of your fur friend's favorite edibles on hand so she can enjoy some goodies, too!

Halloween decorations can also pose hazards for your feline or canine, especially if you have a cat that likes to purposely knock things off shelves and tables to get attention. So put the candles away, along with anything else that would be dangerous for your furry one to knock over.

"With anything crinkly or shiny, you have to worry about ingestion," warns Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA. "Generally, if it’s a cat toy, it’s safe for cats to play with. If it’s not a cat toy, it’s probably not safe."

So why not decorate with pet toys? A couple of Halloween Goofy Danglers ($2.99 each at jbpet.com) hanging from your doorknobs can add a creepy but cute touch to your haunted home. A few Halloween Catnip Pups ($4.99 each at jbpet.com) bungee jumping in the doorways can surprise your guests and excite your cats!

Perhaps the greatest danger facing pets at Halloween is the risk of escape when the door is opening and closing.

"If they make a dash for it and get scared," says Buchwald, "you could have a lost kitty." So if you’d like to dress up your cat or dog for the occasion, consider nixing the kitty costume—most pets find costumes intolerably degrading, anyway—in favor of a Halloween collar and ID tag that can also serve as protection against loss. We found a great variety of festive patterns at felinefido.com for only $11.00 each. Or, if you prefer to confine your pet to a room for her safety when the witches and wizards are about, there are plenty of frightfully fun Halloween toys available from petco.com or drsfostersmith.com to keep her busy and happy. Who says Halloween can’t be fun for pets, too?

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