Halloween Pet Safety Tips From Major Charities

Various animal charities have issued pre-Halloween warnings about Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) are among several national charities to release press releases outlining ways in which to keep your pet safe at Halloween. The HSUS would like pet owners to remember that humans aren’t the only ones susceptible to frightening activity on Halloween. Unusual activity such as constant doorbells, knocking and shouting can be very frightening to an animal. The HSUS also recommends keeping pets indoors and away from Halloween activities.

"It is important to think of Halloween from your pet’s perspective," said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Companion Animal Section of The Humane Society of the United States. "A constant stream of strangers at the door, some ‘creatures’ they’ve never seen before or just a sharp increase in activity can be agitating or frightening. For their comfort and safety, the most considerate thing you can do for your own pet is keep them away from the evening’s activities."

The ASPCA, however, does not suggest removing your pet completely from the festivities, and offers a range of tips to help them safely enjoy the evening. Among these warnings, pet owners are reminded not to feed your pet chocolate – as it can be dangerous to both cats and dogs. Candy with the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs – even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. The ASPCA also suggests not dressing your pet in a costume unless you know that he or she really does enjoy it, since costumes can cause skin irritations, obstruct a pet’s vision or impede his breathing.

ASPCA Senior Vice President Dr. Steven Hansen warns, "Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals."

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