Halloween Safety for Pets

Disclaimer: This doesn't have much to do with RVing, but consider the following a public service announcement. Plus, it gave me a chance to find this photo of this poor dog dressed up like a hula girl.

While Halloween can be a good time for kids and grown-ups alike, the Humane Society of the United States is reminding all of us pet owners that this haunting holiday may be too scary for our pets. Dogs and cats and other companion animals simply aren’t used to all the ringing doorbells, costumed creatures and general hustle-and-bustle that come into our homes at this time of year.

“For your pet’s comfort and safety, the best thing that you can do is to make sure that they have a stress-free holiday,” said Adam Goldfarb of the Humane Society. “The noises, smells and people can be overwhelming for many pets on Halloween, so create a safe haven in one room of your home where he or she can quietly relax.”

To help keep pets safe and happy this Halloween, the Humane Society recommends the following tips:

• Keep your pets safely indoors, away from trick-or-treaters and other Halloween activities.

• Make sure that all of your pets are wearing tags with current ID. Opening the door repeatedly for trick-or-treaters creates plenty of escape opportunities.

• Keep candy out of your pets’ reach. Chocolate and other ingredients can be toxic to them. (Same goes for chocolate Easter bunnies in the spring; we found out the hard way.)

• Most pets are happiest wearing nothing but their birthday suit, but if you're one of those people who has their pets wear a costume, skip the masks and make sure costumes are comfortable and do not pose a risk for injury. (For the record, our dog never dresses up for Halloween.)

• Decorations can be dangerous, so be sure to keep them safely away from pets. Candle flames can set fire to a pet’s fur (and trick-or-treaters' costumes, for that matter). Hanging or dangling decorations also can be an entanglement or choking hazard.

• Use fake cobwebs sparingly, if at all. Pets can choke on fake cobwebs set up indoors. Outdoors, fake webs are a hazard to birds and other wildlife.

• When going out trick-or-treating, leave your dog at home. Dogs can be easily excited by the Halloween commotion and a dog bite or lost dog will quickly end the evening’s fun. (That said, I always take my dog with me when I take the kids trick-or-treating. But I use common sense: a solid grip on his leash and we avoid other people as much as possible.)

Also, don’t forget about wildlife on Halloween, either. Nocturnal animals such as raccoons, possums (or is it opossums?) and foxes will be out looking for food. If you come across a wild animal while out trick-or-treating, keep your distance (and keep your pets away from wild animals, too). And though bats are classically associated with Halloween, those in colder climates will most likely be hibernating at this time of year.

Happy Halloween everyone!