With Halloween around the corner it’s a good time to think about the
animals in your household and their safety that night. All those weird
loud noises as well as the little people traffic in and out of your home
can be upsetting to your pet and can even lead to harm.
“Fireworks going off, a constantly ringing doorbell and the presence
of costumed strangers can all cause animals to panic, putting both pets
and people in danger,” says Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA general manager of
“When dogs and cats are frightened they are more
likely to run away from their homes, jump out of open windows or dart
into traffic. Stressed pets can also behave out of character — even
scratching or biting people,” says Chortyk.
It’s not only companion animals are at risk. “Frightened farm
animals have even been known to run into barbed-wire fences or other
obstructions.“With a little planning, guardians can take steps to keep their pets safe on Halloween,” says Chortyk.
The BC SPCA offers these Halloween safety tips:
Keep pets inside
Pets who are inside have fewer
opportunities to confront trick-or-treaters. Some pets do well left in a
separate room with the radio or television on to mask the sound of
fireworks and trick-or-treaters. Be sure to leave plenty of toys in the
room for your pet so that he doesn’t think he’s being isolated as a
If your pet finds the doorbell disturbing, consider
disconnecting the doorbell for the night. Alternatively, you can leave a
bowl of treats near the door outside where trick-or-treaters can help
themselves. That way, they won’t knock or ring the doorbell – at least
not until the bowl is emptied.
Make sure your pet is wearing identification.
Dogs and cats may try to run away if they feel threatened. Clear,
current identification is your best chance to have them returned to you
Don’t console your anxious pet
While it is
natural to want to comfort your pet, it is better to use a bright,
cheerful voice to send a message that things are fine. Avoid saying
things like, “it’s OK” or “don’t be scared” in a soft or sympathetic
voice. This only reinforces your pet’s fearful behaviour.
Candy is for people
Candy can lead to health
problems such as diabetes or obesity, and chocolate is especially
dangerous because it contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and
cats. Keep candy well away from your pets.
Leave home without them
If you think it would be
fun to bring your pet trick-or-treating, your pet may not share your
view. The strange sights and sounds of Halloween can cause a normally
friendly dog to bite if it feels scared or threatened.
Don’t costume your pet
Dressing your dog in a
costume inhibits his ability to communicate, making him prone to display
aggression himself or be subjected to aggressive behaviour from other
For more information on Halloween safety tips, visit our Pet Care and Behaviour section.
The BC SPCA rescues, protects and cares for more than 34,000 each
year. Your gift can help us to continue our life-saving work. Please donate today.
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.